A Hillcrest High School teacher is one of only 37 teachers nationwide to be honored with a Massachusetts Institute of Technology Alumni Association Inspirational Teacher Award.
Biology teacher Phil Talbot was surprised last week in his fourth-period class by Principal Sue Malone, who informed Talbot’s students that he’d been selected for one of the 2010 awards. The honor is given to outstanding former teachers of current MIT students who wish to thank their high school mentors for helping them prepare for the rigors of college and careers.
“I know he works you hard, but I know he doesn’t expect you to work any harder than he works himself,” Malone told students in his International Baccalaureate Biology class. “We want Mr. Talbot to know just how proud we are of him. I really respect what he does as a teacher. Thank you so much, Mr. Talbot, and you do us all proud.”
Talbot, clad in his white lab overcoat, became emotional when Malone read to the class the nomination letter written by Christina Qi, a former student who started at MIT this academic year. Selections are based on the insights presented in the online nominations.
“Mr. Talbot, I am here at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the most prestigious colleges in the world. These past four months have been the happiest months of my life, and I owe it to you. Not one day passes when I do not reflect upon how lucky I am to be here and how lucky I was to have you as my high school biology teacher. You have given me not only a passion for biology but an overwhelming drive for knowledge,” wrote Qi.
“You have transformed the science department, as well as the school, into an environment where students value the acquisition of knowledge and explore beyond the textbooks. I cannot thank you enough for answering every single question that I brought up, no matter how ridiculous or unrelated to biology it was. Thank you for being such an outstanding instructor and mentor, and thank you for helping make my college experience the best months of my life.”
For earning the award, Talbot, who went to work in Hillcrest’s laboratories and classrooms after retiring from Skyline High School, will receive a certificate from MIT and a packet of MIT program information. As part of the honor, Talbot is granted access to resources at MIT the school hopes will contribute to even greater success in the classroom.
“It really means a lot to me that a student would go to all that work,” said Talbot after Malone announced the award and presented him with a congratulatory banana cream pie.
Alumni from MIT who live and work in Utah will visit Hillcrest in the coming weeks to officially present Talbot with the award.