Senior English teacher and English department head Craig Gillespie was presented with the Raymond J. Sachs Sr. ’25 Award for Distinguished Teaching on September 23. Mr. Gillespie, who was among a number of nominees and selected by a committee of other teachers and one student, expressed surprise and said that maybe his long service, 17 years, was one reason he was chosen.
“I might have been chosen because of longevity because there are a lot of other worthy recipients,” Mr.Gillespie said.
Previous winners were Art Department Chair Pamela Wye-Hunsinger and Science Department Chair Dennis Lansang, M.D.
Rafael Sanchez ‘96, a former St. Benedict’s teacher and one-time student of Mr. Gillespie, spoke at the ceremony held in the Conlin Auditorium. Mr. Sanchez attributed his former teacher’s award to the impact he has on students. He displayed an assignment from his junior year and read Mr. Gillespie’s annotation, “Learn the balance between art for art’s sake and art for a purpose. Keep writing.”
Mr.Sanchez said he always learned from the discussion format of Mr.Gillespie’s class.
“My favorite moment in his class was when he was teaching us the last 20 pages of “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” Mr. Sanchez said, “ He encouraged discussions and debates … and would still be teaching us the text.”
Mr. Gillespie has dedicated 17 years, from 1994 to 2002 and then from 2005 to the present, to the students of the Hive, serving them as the assistant head coach of the soccer team and an English teacher. But he doesn’t see teaching and coaching as requiring the same effort.
“Coaching is easier than teaching,” Mr. Gillespie said.
Mr. Gillespie described his philosophy of teaching English as staying dependent on the text. “The literature is a vehicle for teaching students a love and appreciation for learning and more importantly appreciating life.”
For more photos of the award presentation, click here.