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Providence Latin Teacher Donna Gerard Receives Merita Award

Providence Latin teacher Donna Gerard has devoted forty-four years to her students and profession and to teaching other teachers. Beloved by her fellow teachers and students alike, it comes then as no surprise that she recently received The American Classical League’s highest award, the highly coveted and venerated Merita Award. This annual, prestigious award is bestowed by peers and given to a teaching professional who demonstrates sustained and distinguished service to the Classics profession and the American Classical League.


Having taught for more than thirty years, in 2004 Gerard intended to retire from her career in the Richardson school district. She did not, however, want to leave teaching entirely. Through the years, she had tutored Providence students in Latin and was impressed by them. She interviewed at Providence, began teaching in the 2004/2005 school year, and has enjoyed every minute of teaching Latin at Providence since then. Gerard said, “I like the fact that [at Providence] I really get to teach. It’s not about testing; it’s not about gimmicks; it’s about learning and what’s good for the students. And I like the fact that we’re building character at the same time.”


Gerard did not know she had been nominated for the Merita Award until she learned she had received it. Her daughter, also a Latin teacher, submitted her mother’s curriculum vitae upon receiving an email at her mother’s home congratulating Donna on her nomination. Her daughter chose to keep the nomination a secret from her mother, so Gerard was greatly surprised to learn she had received the award.  


This summer, Gerard’s entire family traveled with her to Memphis where she received the award at the American Classical League’s annual conference. She said, “Latin has been my life work, so it is incredibly rewarding and very nice to hear your accolade read publicly.” At the conference, one young woman whom Gerard had taught working with the Texas Junior Classical League, approached her after she received the award and said, “I just want you to know you were always my inspiration. I wanted to be like you.”


Besides this recent honor, Gerard has had many accolades. In 2004, she was chosen as the Texas State Teacher of the Year in Latin, and the Most Influential Teacher at Richardson High School in 1989-1997, 1999, 2001, and 2004. Since 1990, she has been active as a consultant for the Advanced Placement Program in the teaching of AP Latin teachers as well as providing training for the grading of the AP exams. She is a consultant for the popular Cambridge Latin program and is a sought after conference speaker and seminar leader. She is also very involved with Cambridge University and their team of British professionals shaping their Latin course.


Dr. Tony Jeffrey, Providence headmaster, said, “In every way, she has made an enormous difference in our profession and the lives of our students. We are honored to have a Latin teacher as committed to the field and the students as Donna is.”


About the Merita Award

As a means of recognizing and celebrating excellent classicists, The American Classical League presents the Merita Award annually in recognition of classicists sustained and distinguished service to ACL and the profession at large. Recipients are nominated and then selected by a committee of peers for outstanding work in teaching, publication, and/or service to the classical profession.


About Providence Christian School of Texas

Since 1989, Providence Christian School of Texas has provided academically able students from preschool to 8th grade with a challenging educational experience designed to help them know, love, and practice that which is true, good, and excellent, and to prepare them to live purposefully and intelligently in the service of God and man. Providence’s core values are faith, family, intellect, counterculturalism, and stewardship. More information about the School can be found by calling 214-302-2800 or by visiting

Donna Gerard
Monday, September 30, 2013