Awards and Scholarships

2006 CAMWS Award
for Special Service

Joseph V. Zebrak

This year’s Special Service Award goes to Joseph V. Zebrak, chairman of the Classics Department of St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Ohio.  Since his arrival there in 1993, Mr. Zebrak has been instrumental in saving the ailing classics program from being swallowed up by the cancerous growth of Spanish and amalgamated into the Modern Languages Department.  He did such things as introduce chariot races during the school’s World Languages Week, allowing only Latin students to participate; the event has swelled from 12 teams to 100 (one wonders how they can find colors for them all).  He dreamed up an Olympics-like event called Gladiator Games, a takeoff on the now-defunct “American Gladiator” show, and another a big draw for students and teachers alike.  He volunteered himself and, amazingly, got other teachers and students to volunteer to teach special Latin enrichment programs for middle school students, both during the year and in the summer.   I’m happy to report that enrollment in the Latin program has more than doubled, and for the past academic year, more students in his school are enrolled in Latin than in Spanish and French combined.

For his inspiring example of how to make Latin the cool thing to do in high school, and his tireless willingness to give of himself to make that happen, CAMWS is delighted to present him with the Special Service Award.

--Julia Dyson, Chair, Steering Committee on Awards and Scholarships


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