On April 15, 2013, Camille Quaite of Bellaire High School received an Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award. Humanities Texas board member Virginia Mithoff joined Liz James, coordinator of educational programs at Humanities Texas, to present Ms. Quaite with her award.
Ms. Quaite, who has been teaching for nearly thirty-five years, teaches IB and AP English. Her English students read and analyze a wide variety of literature, from the poetry of Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost to Pa Chin's Family and William Faulkner's Go Down, Moses. Interdisciplinary activities in Ms. Quaite's classroom might include choosing musical selections and art pieces that match shifting tones in a poem and discussing the historical and cultural events that took place at the time of the poem's composition.
"As an educator, I have adhered faithfully to the pedagogical concept that learning is enhanced by the incorporation of multiple disciplines," said Ms. Quaite. "Students should not acquire bits of knowledge as separate, isolated entities; they must see the connections among all disciplines to become fully functional, well-prepared, contributing members of society."
Outside of her regular classes, Ms. Quaite coaches the school's Academic Decalthlon team, meeting with students every morning for five months to research the various humanities topics to be tested in the group competition. For example, the most recent competition addressed nineteenth-century African, Asian, and Western art; Joseph Conrad's novel Heart of Darkness; modern African stories and poems; the history and economics of European imperialism in Africa and Asia; and music by Saint Saens, Liszt, and Beethoven.
"Camille Quaite is such a treasure for Bellaire High School," said Principal Michael McDonough. "Whether in her classroom or supporting activities and competitions across the city and state, Camille meets each adventure with an open mind and a willingness to do what is needed. She is as sharp as a tack and has a way of motivating students to achieve even more than they thought possible. I am so pleased that she has received this honor as the study of humanities is at the core of what she does each and every day."