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"Jeff Helms, Publications Director"
334 613-4212

MONTGOMERY A Baldwin County history teacher, Samuel T. Ansell III, has been named Alfa's Teacher of the Month for June. As the winner, he will receive $1,000 from Alfa, as will his school. Alfa Insurance Co. and the Alabama Farmers Federation began sponsoring the awards program two years ago as a way to recognize excellence in education.

A native of Washington, D.C., Ansell seemed destined to teach history from an early age. As a child, he not only traveled around the world with his parents, but he also was an eyewitness to historical events including the inauguration and funeral of former U.S. president and family acquaintance John F. Kennedy. More recently, Ansell has traveled extensively in the U.S. and Canada, and he uses photographs and interview notes from those trips to enhance classroom activities.

A graduate of Washington and Lee University with a master's degree from the University of South Alabama, Ansell currently teaches history and western civilization at Bayside Academy in Daphne. He believes his job as a teacher is important in helping shape students' lives, both academically and culturally.

"Given the limited time devoted to its study in secondary school, U.S. history and its European roots are especially significant in the transfer of our culture and our values from one generation to another," Ansell said. "History should be taught, certainly to explain and to excite; but also it should be taught to counter the rampant cultural and intellectual illiteracy we face today."

Peggy Dyson, a fellow Bayside teacher and parent, said Mr. Ansell's energetic teaching style has earned him the respect of parents, faculty and community leaders.

"Each of my three children has had Mr. Ansell as a teacher in one or more courses. They have worked very hard indeed; they learned history and learned to love it; but most of all, they found that they were capable of accomplishing the most rigorous tasks with the right encouragement and support," she said.

During 2000, the Alfa Teacher of the Month program will honor one outstanding public school teacher from each of the state's eight public school board districts; two private school teachers; and two principals. Each winner is chosen based on an independent committee's evaluation of the applications received.

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