Enterprise High School teacher Duff Pace was feted at the University of Oregon as its High School Social Studies Teacher of the Year.
He received the honor at the U of O Convocation on Sunday, Sept. 23, from the hands of university president Dave Frohnmayer.
"I'm fortunate to have had a student who is a very gifted writer," Pace said of the award. He gave all credit to D.J. Lincoln, 2007 EHS valedictorian and Pace's nominator. "I'm humbled and honored, all mixed together," he said.
During summer orientation each year, new students (about 3,000 in all) are asked to nominate one of their high school teachers in the field of the person selected as keynote speaker of the annual convocation. This year, the theme was American political debate and the speaker was Kathleen Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.
"We get lots of nominations and a committee ... reads all of them to choose someone who is more than simply popular," We're looking for teachers with high standards and a commitment to helping their students learn to think," Karen Sprague, vice provost of undergraduate studies, wrote to Pace in a letter about the award.
Pace and his wife, Linda, were guests of honor of the Eugene university Sunday, enjoying brunch with Jamieson and members of the press in the late morning, and then receiving his award prior to Jamieson's speech at the 3 p.m. convocation ceremony. The final activity was a picnic on the grass for students, faculty members and special guests.
"Linda and I were treated like royalty," Pace said of their day on the U of O campus.
Pace said that Jamieson is the co-author of a book that is about "knowing what you believe and why you believe it." He noted, "That's the premise that I approach with my Modern Problems class."
Pace is descended from the Wallowa County pioneer families of Green and Pace and graduated from Enterprise High School in 1975. He attended Judson Baptist College for two years and then transferred to then-Oregon College of Education in Monmouth, graduating with a degree in secondary education in 1979. He has taught at EHS for the past 28 years,
"I was very fortunate that Enterprise High School had an opening in the fall of 1980," said Duff Pace. "This was my first and only teaching job," he said. He said that EHS has gone through a lot of changes, but he feels one of its strengths is its family approach to education. "I'm honored to teach with this staff," he said.
He is convinced that D.J. Lincoln's writing expertise could have successfully nominated any of his EHS teacher.
In addition to being senior class advisor, Pace also coaches junior high football and is an elder in his church. He and his wife are the parents of two grown children, Ryan, 24 and a second lieutenant and aerial intelligence officer in the in the U.S. Army in Iraq; and Amy, 22, a George Fox graduate in elementary education, who is currently a substitute teacher in Newburg. Both recently got engaged, and the Paces are planning to fly to see their son get married in November after he gets back from Iraq.