Michelle Breuer-Vitt, a Latin teacher at Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis, Minn., has been honored with the Mensa Foundation’s Distinguished Teacher Award. Michelle won the award based on an essay written by Stephanie Long, a Mensa member and former student. The award was presented on Feb. 20, 2007, at Minnehaha Academy.
Michelle, or “Magistra,” has taught Latin at Minnehaha Academy for 18 years. She earned her B.A. in Latin and French at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., and says that her favorite part about teaching is her students.
“I love teaching in a middle school because of the kids,” she says. “They have an excitement and a joy for life that is just fantastic.”
In her nominating essay, Long wrote, “While other teachers’ names and subjects fade in memory, Magistra’s will continue to last. As for me, the love of language that Magistra instilled in me led to a degree in linguistics. And even today, as a law student, I still hear her voice every time I come across a Latin legal term, of which there are many. Latin may be a dead language to some people, but to those of us who saw it come alive, it never will be. And because of her, I will always smile and remember that no language, memory or experience is dead, so long as it’s remembered and loved.”
The Distinguished Teacher Award recognizes a teacher, professor or instructor at any educational level who has had an especially positive influence on the education or life of a Mensa member. The educator can impact the Mensa member directly or as a result of their influence on the education of a dependent. The teacher and corresponding school selected for the award are presented with a plaque and a cash donation from the Mensa Education & Research Foundation.