Stratford teacher earns student-nominated award from Amherst

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 2:37am
Staff reports

A Nashville teacher who challenged, inspired and moved a member of Amherst College’s Class of 2009 will be honored with the Phebe and Zephaniah Swift Moore Teaching Award during the school’s 188th Commencement exercises May 24.

Addison Diehl, an English teacher at Stratford High School will be honored along with two other teachers.

The honor recognizes instructors and counselors who have been important in the lives of graduating Amherst students. The winners are chosen by a committee of seniors, faculty and staff from nominations submitted by members of the Class of 2009.

According to former student and nominator Lauren Cordova, Diehl gave his students a different — and valuable — perspective on writing. He helped her understand that she didn’t have to “write for standardized tests” and that her thoughts could be articulated in creative and interesting ways that “didn’t have to have the flavor of a brown paper bag.”

But his support for his pupils extended well beyond the classroom, she said, when he served as a mentor, counselor and friend to her and many of her classmates.

“To say his office was a safe space would be a gross understatement. We relied on him to be there — morning, noon and night — to share in our joys and counsel us through all struggles, from the trivial to the critical,” Cordova said.

The Phebe and Zephaniah Swift Moore Teaching Awards are named for the first president of Amherst and his wife. This is the 13th year that the college has presented the awards.

Founded in 1821, Amherst is a highly selective, coeducational liberal arts college with approximately 1,600 students from most of the 50 states and more than 30 other countries.