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Father, daughter Latin teachers rake in awards

Staff Photo: John Bohn Robert Patrick and Miriam Patrick, father and daughter, both work for Gwinnett County Public Schools and have both received awards from the Foreigh Language Association for their work in the field. Robert teaches at Parkview High School, in the classroom that he and Miriam are shown in, while Miriam teaches at Duluth High School.

Staff Photo: John Bohn Robert Patrick and Miriam Patrick, father and daughter, both work for Gwinnett County Public Schools and have both received awards from the Foreigh Language Association for their work in the field. Robert teaches at Parkview High School, in the classroom that he and Miriam are shown in, while Miriam teaches at Duluth High School.

LILBURN -- To some, Latin is anything but a dead language.

In fact, for the Patrick family it's a living, breathing reminder of their love for teaching the subject, a trait passed down from father to daughter.

The Foreign Language Association of Georgia recently selected Parkview High School's Robert Patrick and Duluth High's Miriam Patrick as recipients of prestigious awards for their work in the field,

During the conference in late March, the elder Patrick plans to accept the state's highest foreign language honor as the association's Teacher of the Year for 2012, and Miriam Patrick will share in the accolades as she accepts the association's Georgia Teacher of Promise award.

The school district's director of foreign language couldn't be more proud of the teachers.

"Bob and Miriam make a formidable father-daughter team among the outstanding Latin teachers we have here in GCPS, and their recognition is well deserved," said David Jahner. "I can tell you based on classroom visits alone that students adore being in both classrooms, and these two are among the finest teachers in the program."

Miriam said her father has been a foreign language mentor since she was 6 years old.

"He's shared techniques with me, and he's always been a great person to bounce ideas off of," she said. "Growing up, he helped me to understand what works and what doesn't. I learned different ways of reaching the most kids possible as a teacher."

She added that her father is "pretty excited" about the two of them raking in the awards.

Robert Patrick said it is indeed a "delightful experience" to share the stage with his daughter.

"It's a wonderful feeling," he said. Patrick said he was unsure whether the family's affinity for Latin had to do with genetics. "There's no telling, but it's possible that she picked up some of the ideas and a love for teaching as she was growing up," he said.

In addition to learning from her father at home, Miriam was in her father's Latin class as a student in high school. She joined the district in 2010 after earning her bachelor's degree in classical studies from Georgia State University.

Robert Patrick joined Gwinnett County Public Schools in 2005. He earned his bachelor's degree in Biblical Literature from Oral Roberts University, a master's of divinity degree in theology and pastoral studies from Emory University and his doctorate degree in Latin and classics from the University of Florida.

In addition to being named Parkview High's Teacher of the Year in 2008, the Georgia Classical Association selected him in 2011 as the Georgia Classical Association Teacher of the Year.

According to its website, the Foreign Language Association of Georgia aims to "improve and foster the teaching of foreign languages and cultures through service to the teachers in the state."

For more information, visit www.flageorgia.com.