- The Sword & Shield
Ms. Lowe honored with 2019-2020 Ann Pritchard Award
by HANNAH HITSON, Co Editor-in-Chief and MARY FRANCES LITTLE, Assistant Editor
Last May while the world was quarantined at home, the Mountain Brook School System announced that Ms. Catherine Lowe had won the Ann Pritchard Award.
“Of all our awards that the district gives at the end of the year, the Ann Pritchard Award is the highest honor that anyone in our system can get,” said Principal Philip Holley.
The process of winning the award begins in the late fall when the Mountain Brook Schools’ faculty, which includes all elementary schools, the junior high and the high school, nominates teachers for the award. These nominations are then given to a special committee and narrowed down to the winner.
Ms. Lowe was selected from a school-system-wide pool of nominees for her outstanding work at Mountain Brook High School over the past 27 years. Highlights of her career include establishing the AP English Language and Composition class, sponsoring The Sword & Shield (MBHS’ school newspaper) for 25 years, serving as an AP grader and being Nationally Board Certified since 2006.
“I have known Ms. Lowe for five years, and she is an amazing teacher who loves her subject and is so enthusiastic about it,” said Holley. “It’s a big deal because if you have a teacher who really loves their subject, it really comes across to you as a student and makes you really enjoy that subject.”
The Ann Pritchard Award is presented to a teacher each year who exemplifies the standards the Mountain Brook School system works toward, just as Ann Pritchard did.
“[Ann Pritchard] was known for always advocating for teachers. She embodied all of the values that we value in our teachers.”
Ms. Lowe’s passion for her classes is an outstanding factor of her work ethic.
“She really wants to see her students succeed. She really pours her heart and soul into it,” said Principal Holley.
This passion does not go unnoticed by students either. Isabel Elkus, one of Ms. Lowe’s former students said, “Ms. Lowe changed my life as a teacher; she was always so supportive and fun.”
Elkus served as a member of and later Co-Editor-in-Chief of The Sword & Shield under Ms. Lowe, along with being one of her AP Language students. “I was so lucky to spend all three years of my high school career with her thanks to The Sword & Shield because she was always someone I felt comfortable to talk to and get feedback from,” added Elkus.
Ms. Lowe herself was honored to receive the award and humbled by the recognition her peers have given her for all her hard work.
“A lot of the people in the school didn't even know how much work, consistently, newspaper was,” said Lowe.
Ms. Lowe’s thoughts were mirrored by Holley: “Between Sword & Shield, teaching AP, and teaching regular English, it’s a lot, but she is always willing to do what she can for her kids.”
In a world without COVID, Lowe would have been honored at the school-system-wide Institute Day in the summer when teachers came back. However, things have been different: "It’s been a little bit strange because I was supposed to give a speech at Institute Day, and of course we didn’t have that,” Lowe said. Though she was not honored in the traditional sense, she along with the other teachers who received awards were honored at the Homecoming pep rally.