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70th Reunion
Tuesday, 6/11/2024

12:00 pm until 4:00 pm
Tavistock Country Club
Friends, children, spouses invited to help us celebrate our last reunion
Send $35 to Mark Sibley, 134 Cider Press Drive, Mullica Hill, NJ 08062 by June 1.
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Third Tuesday of every month September through May/June, except December. Contact us for the location.

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2018 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

Christopher Gwin

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Christopher Gwin spent 26 years as a teacher at Haddonfield High School. He came to Haddonfield after his first year of teaching in the Woodstown-Pilesgrove School District fueled by his desire to live in Philadelphia and to have the opportunity to teach German at the Advanced Placement level.

From the outset, he utilized a full immersion model during classroom instruction.  Martha Blackburn, in her nomination recommendation, wrote “On the first day of my freshman year at HMHS, my friends and I entered the German classroom and were astonished when our teacher spoke only German for the entire period. We wondered how we would ever survive the next four years. Somehow, in the time from that first day to the end of our senior year, we grew in our knowledge of the language and were able to converse with native Germans with confidence and competence”.   This application of a full immersion model and Mr. Gwin’s tutelage produced extraordinary results as legions of HMHS students developed fluency in a world language by graduation and capitalized on this study in their post-secondary education and career choices.   

Student competency was further boosted by Mr. Gwin’s enthusiastic leadership of the German Club.  Martha, his sponsor attested to her exceptional exposure to German culture.  She noted, “… Mr. Gwin introduced not only the language but the German culture as well. Several times during the year, we would celebrate German holidays and observe their customs; for instance, we attended the annual Oktoberfest and Niklausabend celebrations that were held in our area. He also organized an annual tradition of celebrating Faschingsfest (the German mardi gras). Mr. Gwin arranged many outside activities in which we could use our second language, such as visiting with a German representative at the United Nations in New York City and the German consulate at the German Embassy in Washington D.C. We visited German-influenced communities in the Pennsylvania Dutch region (Ephrata and Lancaster)”.   Mr. Gwin also his escorted students to regional festivals including full participation in the South Jersey declamation contest held at Rowan University, where students interacted with their German language peers across the region and showcased their proficiency in a competitive space.

Mr. Gwin believed that students could benefit enormously from participation in an exchange program with a German school.  He initiated a spring break trip that led to yearly pre-AP excursions to Germany. These trips were the forerunner of a formal exchange program which he initiated in 2002 with the Aldegrever Gymnasium in Soest and then adding, a few years later, Ludwig Marum Gymnasium in Pfinztal and the Leibnizschule in Wiesbaden. Mr. Gwin stated,  “These exchanges were a true highlight, as the experience of immersing ourselves in the culture after learning the language in the classroom, deepens and broadens the students’ comprehension of their place in the world.”

In 1993, Mr. Gwin piloted a set of units on the history of the Holocaust which grew into a full semester course on the topic. With Mr. Gwin, as the instructor, this became one of the school’s most popular electives.  Inspired by the work, he followed some new professional directions, including working on a masters degree program in Holocaust history and education, taking students to Israel to learn more about these experiences and developing new extra-curricular activities including Amnesty International, STAND (Students Taking Action Now: Darfur) and the establishment of an Africa Week celebration and commemoration in the school. 

Similar endeavors by Mr. Gwin contributed to promoting a rich inclusive environment at the high school and across the district.  He served as an adviser to Anytown and the Lead for Diversity groups that worked to make the school culture safer and more welcoming.  He was a part of the team that crafted the district’s “Human Dignity Statement”.  Always attuned to ways that he could grow and develop, he assumed a critical role in supporting his colleagues by assuming the leadership of the district-wide professional development committee, helping give teachers a voice in determining their professional growth opportunities. 

Christopher Gwin’s enormous work ethic, deep concern about the academic, social and emotional growth of his students, and a genuine desire to help students assume their place in a complex and changing world make him a most worthy recipient of this award.

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