Crossroads News

Middle School Faculty Making Their Mark

Marisa Alimento and Ebony Murphy-Root earn honors.
Crossroads’ Middle Schoolers are not the only ones raving about their phenomenal teachers: Prestigious educational societies and organizations have recently followed suit, recognizing the work of Latin Teacher/Curriculum Coordinator Marisa Alimento and Eighth-Grade Core Teacher Ebony Murphy-Root.
During winter break, Marisa learned that she was a 2020 recipient of the Society for Classical Studies Awards for Excellence in Teaching at the Precollegiate Level. UCLA professors Amy Richlin and Bob Gurval—who sat on the board of the California Classical Association Southern Section with Marisa—nominated her for the honor.
“From the beginning, Crossroads has allowed me to teach Latin to a wide audience, not just a select few who think it might be interesting,” says Marisa, who began teaching at Crossroads as a long-term substitute in 1991. “In doing so, kids who might not have even thought to take Latin have told me during their 10- or 20-year reunions that they found value in studying it, whether it was a mythology project, learning about Caecilius and making their own pilgrimage to Pompeii with their families or attending Latin Convention.”
Marisa’s award includes resources for the School, a cash prize, airfare and accommodations for an upcoming national meeting.
In January, Ebony Murphy-Root was named a 2021 Michael LaPrade Holocaust Education Fellow. An initiative of the Anti-Defamation League, the Michael LaPrade Institute offers Southern California educators instruction on teaching the Holocaust along with the topics of genocide, anti-Semitism and combatting hate and bias.
“I was intrigued by the fellowship because I am always looking for resources and for ways to deepen and expand my understanding of history,” reflects Ebony, whose current curriculum includes works such as “The Watch” by Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel and a recent Jewish Journal article reflecting on Black-Jewish solidarity.
Ebony adds, “I have been alarmed by the almost casual anti-Semitism I see in pop culture, and also by the growing ignorance of the Holocaust and outright Holocaust denial online. Joanna Mendelson's Equity & Justice Institute talk in October confirmed these observations for me.”
Ebony is one of 17 fellows who will attend seven virtual meetings through June and then create a research-based lesson plan to teach the Holocaust; she will also receive a stipend upon completion of the program.