Local high school teachers impact students’ lives long after they graduate high school. University of Nebraska-Lincoln first-year students recently honored those influential teachers for their work in shaping their success in high school and college.

UNL’s Nebraska Today released a list of teachers across the state, including several teachers across the Panhandle. Of the 900 teachers honored, 23 teachers are either working or have worked in the valley, including Ryan Bosche, Randy Johnson, Paul North, Randy Plummer, Kris Schank and Andy Stobel from Gering High School.

Gering High School social studies teacher Paul North said he was grateful for the recognition.

“It was a pleasant surprise,” he said. “It feels good to be recognized by kids. The kids inspire me to come back every year and make me want to do my best.”

GHS art teacher Ryan Bosche had never heard of UNL’s program, but thought it was wonderful.

“I just love sharing my love of art with the students and to see their passion for art grow,” Bosche said. “I learn so much from the students, mostly new trends because education has changed so much since I was in school.”

GHS social studies teacher Kris Schank was surprised, but said the recognition was a cool moment.

“It’s a cool moment because it feels like I’m doing a good job,” he said. “Having kids recognize me after they left is a bonus.”

Schank said he’s learned to adapt his teaching style and change to help his students learn.

For English teacher Andy Stobel, “It’s humbling to know when students feel we’ve prepared them well.”

As Stobel focuses on building relationships with his students, he is in a unique position to see them enter into his freshman English class and leave in his senior English class.

“I’m in a unique position to see them grow and take off,” Stobel said. “It’s very rewarding to watch.”

Six hundred of these teachers work across Nebraska. Other teachers are in other states.

Within the release, it states Chancellor Ronnie Green sent each teacher a letter.

“Your influence helped (the students) earn acceptance to a Big Ten university, where they’ll discover and stretch their strengths, work one-on-one with peers and faculty and prepare for a great career or advanced study,” Green said.

The project highlights NU’s belief that the college path is just as important as students’ journeys before arriving on campus.

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