Students and staff at Kearney High were greeted to a treatduring a morning assembly yesterday.
The Milken National Educator Award has been recognizingteachers across the country for years, and yesterday the entire schoolwitnessed one of their own receive this award.
Students and staff gathered yesterday for what they thoughtwas a student presentation, but little did they know one of their very ownteachers would be receiving a prestigious award.
A shocked Kevin Wittecould only focus on a few things when he heard Governor Dave Heinemann call hisname as the precipitant of the Milken Educator Award.
"Get the heart rate down, relax, kind of get yourcomposure but enjoy every second of it."
Witte, who has been a social studies teacher at Kearney Highfor twelve years now, has traveled abroad multiple times and with eachexperience brought back information to help educate and inspire students to seethe world. Making him a prime candidate for the award, that wasn't an easysecret to keep.
"It's been doing on for about three or four week. I'vehad to keep the secret and just planning it and not letting the car out of thebag. It's been a lot of work getting the special guests here and just putting ascript together and the biggest thing obviously was just keeping thesecret," said Dostal.
A check for $25,000 has also been awarded to Witte as partof the award, which opens doors to travel and further educate students on theworld.
"There might be somewhere that was always on my listthat may have been difficult to reach. That might have to think about that justa little bit and take advantage of that opportunity," Witte said.
And while he's honored and grateful to receive such praise,Witte credits the people around him most.
"None of it would be possible without the incredibleschool and community and the students that I get to work with. But I just amincredibly honored right now," he said.
The Milken Foundation honors about forty teachers andprincipals throughout the country each year.
Witte is the only teacher to be given the award in Nebraskathis year, and the first teacher to receive the award in Kearney since 2004.