Centre grad Adriana Melnyk wins major teaching award
RELEASED: Oct. 6, 2005
DANVILLE, KY"My classroom is in a constant state of controlled chaos," admits Centre College graduate Adriana Melnyk '02, a Spanish teacher just starting her fourth year at Newport (Ky.) High School.
But the chaos apparently works. Melnyk was named Outstanding New Teacher of the Year by the Kentucky World Language Association in September. The award recognizes the best world-language teacher in the state with less than five years experience.
There's no dozing in one of Melnyk's classes, which might include the Alphabet March (students parade around the room while singing the alphabet) or jumping jacks. "I think my students love my class because it's so different from anything they've studied before," she says. "I'm not scared to make a fool of myself by dancing with them to illustrate a grammatical point."
A Spanish and anthropology/sociology major at Centre, Melnyk brings her two interests to language class, with discussions about cultural aspects as well as grammar in a way her students can grasp. She also believes in getting out of the four walls of the traditional classroom. "We sometimes do projects outside of the building, and it's very empowering for my students to realize that they can communicate in another language," she says. "My students love finding that Spanish has an immediate application in the community."
And she loves that most of her students continue to study the language once they reach college. "It's rewarding to know that I've had some hand in inspiring students to continue in a global education and to see the world around them in a different way," she says.
Melnyk says that teaching is the perfect way to combine a "passion" for learning about different cultures with her love of the language, which she realized after spending a semester with Centre's program in Merida, Mexico. And she wasn't the only one to hear the call to the classroom.
"To me it's a testament to the Centre-in-Mexico program that there are nine of us teaching Spanish at various levels," she says.
Outside of class, her high energy bubbles over into her work as advisor to the school newspaper and yearbook. Her curriculum plans for the year are used as state samples by the Kentucky Education Department. And if Spanish ever becomes a recognized content area, it will be due in no small part to her tireless lobbying of state education officials.
Why does she do it? As she told the Cincinnati Enquirer, it's for the future.
"America has a tendency to be closed off from the rest of the world," she said. "I think if we start teaching our youth that they're global citizens, our future will be much brighter.
To read the entire Cincinnati Enquirer article, see http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2005510030327.
Photo taken by Jared Hatfield, a senior at Newport High School.
Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
For news archives go to http://www.centre.edu/web/news/newsarchive.html.
600 W. Walnut Street
Danville, KY 40422
Public Information Coordinator: Telephone 859-238-5714