Current ACE Teacher Peter Prindiville was recently selected as one of only twelve recipients of this year’s George J. Mitchell Scholarship from the US-Ireland Alliance, an annual fellowship given to up to twelve candidates interested in spending a year pursuing graduate studies in Ireland.
“I would not have been at a place intellectually to be able to apply for a fellowship like this without ACE,” Prindiville said. “My research interests are very related to what I’ve seen in the classroom, what I’ve studied in the M.Ed. I’m taking my undergraduate training in history, but I’m approaching it very much through the lens of education. That wouldn’t have been something I would have been capable of doing without ACE.”
After graduating in 2014 from Georgetown University with a B.S. in Foreign Serivce and International History, Prindiville was accepted into the ACE Teaching Fellows program and was placed as a high school teacher at St. Patrick’s High School in Biloxi, Mississippi.
“From his outstanding work as a classroom teacher to his singular contributions as a graduate student, Peter has made an extraordinary impact on the ACE community,” said John Schoenig, Senior Director of Teacher Formation and Education Policy for ACE. “This is a well-deserved honor for a young man who has no doubt just begun to forge systemic solutions to many of the challenges faced by schoolchildren on the margins of society.”
Prindiville said that his research in Ireland will focus on how students in Ireland, Northern Ireland, and the United Kingdom learn about the Troubles.
“I want to study how societies talk and think about the past—not necessarily studying the past itself, but studying how people remember it,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of value in studying how schools mediate and assimilate traumatic memories from the past, as a component of national identity or regional identity. And this is very much coming out of my time teaching in Mississippi, teaching traumatic history, and coming to terms with how there is a remembrance of traumatic history that exists.
“Even outside of the four walls of the classroom, students learn about cultural memory from plaques, from their grandmother, from the name of streets, and a whole host of ways we memorialize the past. It’s a broad project, but it finds its home inside the classroom.”
Prindiville said that his time in ACE prepared him well to pursue further graduate studies, keeping his mind working intellectually throughout his two years teaching at St. Patrick’s.
“I feel so blessed to be a part of ACE because the academic part is so intrinsically linked to the practical component of teaching that the entire two years is intellectual exercise, even in the midst of teaching,” he said. “That thought of constantly approaching my teaching from an academic standpoint sparked me to think about this research question.”
Though not completely certain of his plans after his time in Ireland, Prindiville said he believes that working in education will be a life-long pursuit.
“I’ve lost the ability to not care, because once you’ve seen schools, and you’ve been inside them, it’s hard to just walk away,” he said. “I can’t imagine doing something that didn’t involve education.”