Richard McCombs thought he was attending just another faculty meeting at Statesboro High. But that changed with a standing ovation, a large cardboard check and the designation as a national teacher of the year.
The science teacher was recognized by the Southeastern Consortium for Minorities in Engineering for exemplary accomplishments in building and/or sustaining a successful SECME school program through creative and enriching curricular/extracurricular activities, thereby increasing the number of historically under-represented students who are interested in, and academically prepared for, studies in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics, according to the organization's announcement.
McCombs said much of the students' success comes from a teacher's excitement.
"Once you get the teacher turned on, you get them back in the classroom and they can turn on 35 young ones to doing science and not just talking about it," he said.
McCombs, a former STAR teacher and Bulloch County Teacher of the Year, was awarded a $4,000 prize and will attend SECME's national meeting in June in Daytona.
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