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Terry teacher honored by Anti-Defamation League

May 05, 2017 | Community Relations

cropped watson at adl

Each year, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) presents the Walter Kase Teacher Excellence Award to three Region IV educators for their outstanding efforts to create an atmosphere in their schools that rejects prejudice and regards diversity as a strength. 

Terry High School English teacher Mary Catherine Watson co-sponsor of the Terry High School’s No Place for Hate Club, was honored May 3 at the group’s annual Kase Award Luncheon. In addition to a commemorative plaque, Watson receives a $500 stipend and ADL will provide a World of Difference Institute Workshop at Terry High School.

The Club’s 2016-2017 campaign was based on the school’s motto: All in!

 “All In” may be a short message, but it has a tall definition,” Watson said at the luncheon. “In fact, our school has become passionate in its approach to spreading love, rather than hate; celebrating diversity, rather than separateness; and, generating the mindset of acceptance, rather than intolerance. The heartbeat of B. F. Terry High School is ‘acceptance.’ We lift our hands to help another, inspire others, speak kindly, and celebrate friendships; because at B. F. Terry High School, there is ‘no place for hate’—only love.”

Destiny Dawson, president of Terry’s No Place for Hate Club, credited Watson for helping her see that you can always find support in troubled times.

“I look at Mrs. Watson as a mom,” Dawson said at the luncheon. “Her caring spirit has brought me and her a very, very long way. I learned from experience that everyone has a support system, whether they know it or not. No matter what people tell you, remember that you are loved and there are people out there to help you with whatever you’re going through.”

 “Before joining the club, I didn’t really have a positive outlook on things” said club vice president Trenece Williams. “Now, after being in the club, I have a better outlook on life and I understand other people’s lives a lot better, too. I feel that all of this is possible because of Mrs. Watson and everyone else supporting our club. Mrs. Watson is more than my English Teacher: she is a kind and loving person.”

The Award is named after Holocaust survivor Walter Kase, who has dedicated much of his life to speaking to youth, educators, and community leaders about the dangers of hate and the importance of love, respect and understanding.