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Citation for 2018 Coffin Fellow

It is with great pleasure that I announce the winner of the 2018 David D. and Rosemary H. Coffin Fellowship for Travel in Classical Lands. The fellowship will enable William Finch, Latin teacher at Huron High School (an International Baccalaureate (IB) School), Ann Arbor Michigan Public Schools, to attend the “Inter Versiculos” Workshop in Sicily, Italy, this summer.

Mr. Finch will use the knowledge he gains from this program, which entails practice in Latin verse composition, to enrich and strengthen his students’ experience of reading Latin poetry. He will be developing a component for his teaching of Latin poetry that will involve his students composing Latin verse. Mr. Finch is dedicated to making the classical languages portion of Huron’s new IB program a success. “Inter Versiculos” will help to continue Mr. Finch’s own lifelong learning, while positioning him well for enhancing his Latin students’ experience.   

Mr. Finch earned his BA from Duke University and his MA from the University of Michigan. He has taught at both the secondary school at college levels. He has been working in the Ann Arbor Public Schools since 2002.

A colleague and administrator wrote, “if I were to start a school, William would be the first draft choice. He is a cornerstone for an entire institution. William is a leader in our World Languages Department, growing the Latin program into one of the finest of its kind in the country. A steady stream of former students visit, guest speak, and write letters to current students depicting their life changing experiences in this course.” A former student wrote that Mr. Finch “inspired respect from every student in the room, even from those who might be a distraction in other classes.” He is described as “kind, witty, brilliant, and passionate” and “the sort of extraordinarily gifted and enthusiastic teacher that every public high school…would love to have.”

The Committee thought that this opportunity to travel and to study further among a group of classicists would be a great opportunity for Mr. Finch to have a chance to further his own classics learning. Although the competition was strong, Mr. Finch’s application stood out for its clearly articulated goals, both for continued learning and for the benefits that would accrue to his students.

I would like to thank my colleagues on the committee, Robert Cape and Jennifer Rea, for their careful reading of all the applications and their collegial exchanges during the deliberation and selection process. Helen Cullyer, Executive Director of SCS, and Ariana Traill, Vice President for Education of SCS, are also owed thanks for their assistance in gathering the application materials and sharing them with the Committee, and for answering any Committee queries along the way. 

Ronnie Ancona

Chair, David D. and Rosemary H. Coffin Fellowship for Travel in Classical Lands Committee

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