WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., June 10, 2003--Eachyear, members of the Williams College graduating class nominatehigh school teachers, who have influenced their intellectual andpersonal growth for the national Olmsted Prizes for Excellencein Secondary School Teaching. A committee of faculty, staff, andstudents selects the winners.
The five recipients of this years' 2003George Olmsted, Jr., Class of 1924 Prize for Excellence in SecondarySchool Teaching are: Donna E.M. Denizé of St. Albans Schoolin Washington, D.C.; Gerald J. Dolan, Jr. of Ipswich High Schoolin Ipswich, Mass.; Michael E. Gosselin of Waterville Senior HighSchool in Waterville, Maine; Thomas G. McKenna of Carleton PlaceHigh School in Carleton Place, Ontario, Canada; and Douglas A.Tyson of Benjamin Banneker Academic High School in Washington,D.C.
The awards consist of $2,000 for eachteacher and $1,000 for each of their schools. The Olmsted Prize,established in 1983, is funded by an endowment from the estatesof George Olmsted Jr. '24 and his wife, Frances. Olmsted, a lifelongproponent of superior teaching, was the president and chairmanof the board of the S.D. Warren (Paper) Co. The chair of thisyear's selection committee was David P. Richardson, professorof chemistry.
Michael E. Gosselin
Senior Nicole E. Theriault said of herteacher, Michael Gosselin: "Under his quietly powerful presence,the bespectacled, bearded, gray-haired Mr. Gosselin has a quickwit and enthusiasm for teaching physics that engages and inspireshis students.
"What else could we expect froma man whose license plate, 1642, represented both the death ofGalileo and the birth of Newton," she asks.
"He displays an ability to explaincomplicated concepts and calculations in a clear, understandable,and fun way," said Theriault. For instance, while studyingforce, the class built bridges of dry spaghetti, while studyingmechanics, they built mousetrap cars that they raced down thehallway.
Scott Phair, principal of WatervilleSenior High School, says Gosselin is "counselor, confessor,big brother, the institutional memory, the enthusiastic innovator,science department chair and the resident curmudgeon. He is alsothe heart and soul of the faculty of Waterville Senior High School."
Gosselin figures he's taught 21,000 physicsclasses in his 33 years on the job. Both Theriault and Phair creditedGosselin's efforts to place Waterville Senior High School at thecutting edge of technology. While Gosselin does not use textbooksin his academic classes, he has created a website that supplementshis teaching. You can see his work at http:wshs.wtvl.k12.me.us/~physics361.
He's served on the local school committeeduring six three-year terms and attended more than 400 meetingsduring that time, bringing a teaching point of view to the policytable.
"His excellence is characterizedby an extraordinary command of his subject; an approach to teachingthat is supported by research and informed by pedagogy, and thesimple expectation that every student wants to be a successfullearner," the principal said. "His battle with Parkinson'sdisease has not lessened his contribution to students and to thecommunity but has made him into a model of courage."
Gosselin has taught at Waterville SeniorHigh School since 1970. He received his B.A. from Bates Collegein 1970 and his Master's of Education in mathematics from theUniversity of Maine in 1973. In 1998 he received a Masters ofScience in computer technology from Thomas College. He was namedPaul Harris Fellow by the Waterville Rotary Club in 2002.
Williams College is consistently ranked one of the nation'stop liberal arts colleges. The college's 2,000 students are taughtby a faculty noted for the quality of their undergraduate teaching.The achievement of academic goals includes active participationof students with faculty in research. Admission decisions aremade regardless of a student's financial ability, and the collegeprovides grants and other assistance to meet the demonstratedneeds of all who are admitted. Founded in 1793, it is the secondoldest institution of higher learning in Massachusetts. The collegeis located in Williamstown, Mass. To visit the college on theInternet: www.williams.edu
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