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Cedar Crest College Honors South Mountain Middle School Teacher
Allentown, Pa. (November 23, 2010)—Juan Enriquez spent his teenage years studying in Allentown schools, first at Harrison-Morton Middle School and later at Louis E. Dieruff High School. When he earned his teaching certification and began hunting for a job, the decision to stay home was easy.
Klopp Award winner Juan Enriquez and education department Chair Nancy King.
“I could have chosen to teach at one of the suburban school districts, but this is where it really counts,” said Enriquez, who lives in Macungie. He currently teaches 8th grade government courses at South Mountain Middle School. “I just come in and try to make a difference every day.”
Mission accomplished for Enriquez, who was presented with the Howard L. Klopp Exemplary Teacher Award from Cedar Crest College during a special presentation at the middle school on November 18. Several members of the Cedar Crest education department, including department Chair Nancy King, were on hand to present Enriquez with a framed commendation and a gift.
After receiving the award, Enriquez said: “I am very surprised. I wasn’t expecting it at all.” To those who presented him with the award, as well as his colleagues, it was far from shocking.
“Mr. Enriquez is a fine teacher who truly goes above and beyond for his students—in and outside of the classroom—and he’s a very worthy recipient of the 2010 Howard L. Klopp Award,” said King. “The fact that he is a Cedar Crest College graduate makes his selection even more special for those of us from the College who are here to present him the award.”
Enriquez earned his post-baccalaureate certificate in secondary education/social students from Cedar Crest in 2001, and began teaching at Louis E. Dieruff High School that year. The next year he moved on to South Mountain Middle School, and he’s been there ever since. Principal Frank Derrick is quite happy about that.
“Mr. Enriquez is an integral part of what we do. He’s very involved with the students and their families, he volunteers his time for many, many events, some of which are on weekends, and he runs a team of teachers and the 125 kids in that team,” said Derrick. “It’s fantastic to get recognition like this for someone who epitomizes what teaching at South Mountain Middle School is all about.”
For the Howard L. Klopp Award, school administrators, teachers, students, or parents are encouraged to nominate an outstanding elementary or secondary teacher who represents excellence in the teaching profession. Mr. Enriquez was nominated for this prestigious honor by Sarah Lucci, a teacher on his eighth grade team.
“I can proudly attest to his professionalism as an educator, as well as his profound love for teaching our students,” Lucci wrote in her nomination. “He adapts instruction for students of varying ability levels and language barriers, and his commitment to the community of Allentown and its children is evident in his everyday demeanor and dedication to his students and colleagues. It is truly an honor to work with such an accomplished and devoted professional.”
In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Enriquez serves as coach of the intramural wrestling team, and he is also the PTA liaison, where he works hard to forge connections with the families of South Mountain Middle School students.
The Howard L. Klopp Exemplary Teacher Award is named for Howard L. Klopp, a former education professor at Cedar Crest for 26 years and chair of the education department. Each year it’s presented to a deserving K-12 teacher in Lehigh and Northampton counties who exhibits the qualities that meet the selection criteria for the Exemplary Teacher Award: a devotion to quality in education; the ability to focus on each student’s strengths; a commitment to helping students achieve their full potential; concern for the students that extends beyond the classroom; outstanding service to school and community, and dedication to helping colleagues and advancing the profession.
Last Updated: 11/23/10