Walnut Teacher Named One of Best by Reader's Digest

A Walnut teacher was selected Wednesday by Reader's Digest as one of the top 10 teachers in America.

Alan Haskvitz, 48, a teacher at Suzanne Middle School, won the 1990 Reader's Digest American Heroes in Education award, which comes with $15,000 prize. Suzanne Middle School will receive $10,000 and Haskvitz will receive $5,000, a Reader's Digest spokeswoman said.

Haskvitz, who was chosen from about 400 teachers, is known for his unorthodox approach to teaching. Under his instruction, students have rewritten and simplified polling instructions used in municipal elections and drafted environmental legislation carried on the state level by local politicians.

Earlier this year, Haskvitz received nationwide publicity when deposed Panamanian dictator Manuel A. Noriega responded to a letter that Haskvitz's eighth-grade civics class wrote to him in jail.

Haskvitz's class invited Noriega to tell his side of the story, and the one-time strongman responded with a one-page letter, handwritten in Spanish on a yellow legal pad.

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