Spearfish High School teacher beats out teachers across the state for award

SPEARFISH, S.D. (KOTA TV) - Elements, compounds, atoms. Many of us might not remember too much from high school chemistry, but we remember those who taught us. And one Spearfish High School teacher was recognized for all she has taught over the years.

Jessica Zwaschka won the 2018 South Dakota Teacher of Excellence Award, a state-wide award. President of the South Dakota Education Association says she was recognized for being an outstanding teacher and helping build a love of science.

This award is presented annually to one teacher in the entire state chosen by the SDEA executive committee. Zwaschka received a plaque and along with the plaque, a $1,000 innovation scholarship to be used for classroom activities and projects. Zwaschka was presented with this award during American Education Week. It was a complete surprise, but she says she is grateful.

"It means a lot. It means that somebody is noticing the things that I do for my students and I do in the classroom,” said Zwaschka. “And just recognizing the profession as a whole that we are all doing things to help these kids be prepared for college, for career, for life and aware of the things we do on a daily basis."

Zwaschka will be joining other Teaching Excellence Award winners from all over the country to represent South Dakota in Washington D.C. All award winners will be eligible to be selected for an ultimate prize of $25,000.