Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

September 07, 2005

Marilyn Jachetti Whirry, 72, who won the National Teacher of the Year award in 2000, died of lung disease Friday at her home in Torrance, Calif.

In presenting the award, President Bill Clinton described her teaching style as a softer version of Professor Kingsfield in the movie and TV series The Paper Chase.

She taught English from 1967 to 2000 at Mira Costa High School in the Manhattan Beach, Calif., school district. She insisted that her students - dubbed "Whirry-ites" - take part in discussions and critique one another and even her.

Students in her Advanced Placement English class had to read two dozen books and plays, write more than 30 essays and critique and write poetry.

After winning the award, she traveled 25 days a month, giving speeches to urge better teacher recruitment and retention.

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