José Melgoza Wins Distinguished Teaching Award from Whitman College

Poly is pleased to announce José Melgoza has been awarded the Distinguished Teaching Award from Whitman College. Jack Fleming ’17 nominated José for the award, and he was honored in absentia due to COVID. This award recognizes an outstanding elementary or secondary school teacher who has had a significant influence on a graduating senior, including encouraging an interest in learning; fostering skills and interest in a specific field or discipline; and contributing to the student’s preparation for college.

“Mr. Melgoza showed us that history is about much more than the regurgitation of certain dates and factoids; rather, history… is about comprehending a series of interwoven stories than can help us better understand the society we live in, both its virtues and its flaws,” Jack wrote in his nomination of José.

Please find a transcription of the portion of the ceremony honoring José below or watch the full video here.

“Whitman College has a tradition of recognizing elementary, middle, and high school teachers who have made a positive difference in the life of a graduating senior. Members of the graduating class are invited to nominate by letter a teacher who helped them in especially significant ways. Based on this year’s nominations, the nomination committee selected José Melgoza to received the Distinguished Teaching award. José Melgoza teaches history in the upper school and serves as executive director for Partnership for Success!, a summer enrichment program for Pasadena-area public school students. Since joining Polytechnic School in 2004, José has developed a student-centered, inquiry-based curriculum with an emphasis on developing critical thinking skills through research writing. His students have published their research papers in prestigious journals such as the Concord Review. José has also co-led student trips through the Global Initiatives Program to Mexico, Cuba, and Peru, and has served as faculty advisor to Polytechnic School’s Model United Nations team. One of today’s graduating seniors, Jack Fleming, a history major, nominated José. ‘It goes without saying that Mr. Melgoza is the reason that I became a history major here at Whitman,’ said Jack. Thank you José Melgoza for your investment in Jack and so many other students.”