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Third Annual Mount Vernon History Teacher of the Year Award Won by West Springfield High School Teacher

Thu, 07/23/2009

For Immediate Release
July 23, 2009
Digital Images Available
Media Contact:
Melissa Wood (703) 799-5203

Third Annual Mount Vernon History Teacher of the Year Award Won by West Springfield High School Teacher

Mount Vernon, Va. – The third annual Mount Vernon History Teacher of the Year award was won on July 22 by James Percoco, a history teacher at West Springfield High School. Percoco, who created the nationally recognized Applied History course at West Springfield High School, was awarded $5,000 and an all-expenses-paid field trip to Mount Vernon for his students at West Springfield High School. The award, supported by an endowment established by the Robertson Foundation, honors excellence in history education.  Any teacher in the Washington, D.C., area who teaches American History in grades 3-12, and who has at least two years of teaching experience, was eligible to apply. Three finalists from the Washington, D.C., area were recognized at the George Washington Teachers’ Institute at Mount Vernon on July 22: Catherine Collins from Clifton, Virginia; Allison M. Rozycki from Springfield, Virginia; and Cary Knor from Adamstown, Maryland.

 “This award celebrates educators such as Jim Percoco, who brings creativity and passion to his teaching and who deepens his students’ understanding and appreciation of history,” said James C. Rees, executive director for Historic Mount Vernon.

In his almost 30 years as a teacher at West Springfield High School, Percoco's excellence in history education has led to many of his students entering into the field and practice of history, according to West Springfield High School Principal Paul Wardinski.

“I am deeply honored and humbled to be the recipient of this year’s Mount Vernon History Teacher of the Year award,” said Percoco. “Opening doors for young people through the prism of history is an essential part of my calling.  I am gratified to be able to see through the efforts of my students who have entered the history arena the fruits of my labor reflected in their lives.  This makes receiving the History Teacher of the Year award all the more special.”

In his first annual address to Congress in 1790, George Washington stated: “Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness.” In his will, he left money for a number of schools and outlined his hopes for a national university.


Events, programs, and activities are subject to change.

Public Information:
703-780-2000; 703-799-8697 (TDD);

Since 1860, over 80 million visitors have made George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens the most popular historic home in America.  Through thought-provoking tours, entertaining events, and stimulating educational programs on the Estate and in classrooms across the nation, Mount Vernon strives to preserve George Washington’s place in history as “First in War, First in Peace, and First in the Hearts of His Countrymen.”  Mount Vernon is owned and operated by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, America’s oldest national preservation organization, founded in 1853.  A picturesque drive to the southern end of the scenic George Washington Memorial Parkway, Mount Vernon is located just 16 miles from the nation’s capital.

Hours of operation: April-August, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; March, September, October, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; November – February, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Regular admission rates: adults, $15.00; senior citizens, $14.00; children age 6-11, when accompanied by an adult, $7.00; and children under age 5, FREE.  Admission fees, restaurant and retail proceeds, along with private donations, support the operation and restoration of Mount Vernon.