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Berk award winner revealed

Florida Latin teacher takes prize for her contributions to ancient coin education.
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Leslie Perkins, a Latin teacher at St. Johns Country Day School in Orange Park, Fla., is the recipient of the annual Harlan J. Berk Teacher Excellence Award for the 2005-06 academic year.

An Ancient Coins for Education participant, Perkins is the third recipient of this award ? a silver drachm of Alexander the Great, depicting Hercules wearing a lionskin headdress.

To expand on her Latin lessons, she has brought ancient coins into the classroom for the past four years, bringing in guest numismatists to lead her students through attribution projects, attending seminars at the American Numismatic Association, and purchasing her own collection of ancient coins to highlight her curriculum.

Perkins? school-based ancient coin museum, which includes many historical items related to coins, has inspired her students to reproduce such wonders as ancient boxing gloves shown on a coin of Smyrna in Ionia.

In 2005 when her museum featured an ?Olympics? theme, Berk and others supported her efforts with donations of ancient coins, books, casts of excessively rare coins and experienced advice. Her new ?Hercules? exhibit features prominent images of the hero slaying the Nemean lion and the Lernaean hydra alongside the coins. Maps and illustrations highlight Herculean labors featured on other coins too, and document Hercules? travels throughout the Mediterranean basin. Berk?s contribution depicting Hercules killing the Hydra is the theme coin of this exhibit.

The Berk award was initiated several years ago for teachers taking part in the ACE program. It was established by Berk, a numismatist and author from Chicago.

This annual ancient coin prize is awarded to an ACE teacher who shows outstanding commitment to the use of ancient coins in education.