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Henrico physics teacher recognized for excellence; 'My goal is to inspire the next generation'

Posted at 8:08 AM, Apr 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-21 08:08:28-04

HENRICO, Va. -- A physics teacher in Henrico County is being recognized for teaching excellence -- and unconventionality.

“I'm going to jump off the desk. Okay? Probably never in your life have you seen a teacher do that, right?"

That's one way to get his students' attention. But Godwin High School physics teacher Mike Fetsko is taking it even further.

"I plan on going to Alaska. I am very much a big fan of going to the great outdoors. As a teacher, my goal is to inspire the next generation."

Fetsko can go thanks to winning an R.E.B. Award for Teaching Excellence for Henrico County Public Schools, in part, because of his students.

It also comes with a grant of just over $8,000.

"It was an honor,” said Fetsko. “For me, anything that comes through the students is more valuable than anything I can ever imagine."

Fetsko is used to traveling to learn. He was part of a group of 50 physics teachers who went to see the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Switzerland a few summers ago.

"When I was able, the following school year, to come back to my students and say, 'Look, this is why we're learning physics and here are all these practices and all these first-hand accounts I have'. The connection with the students was just natural."

And its nature that's driving this upcoming trip.

Fetsko is going to Alaska to observe the impact of climate change on the environment and topography.

"If I can get some of those environmental students, those physics students to become a little more active in terms of how to help our environment, that's a huge victory for me."

For teacher Mike Fetsko it does not matter if he's climbing desktops... or Alaska's mountains... both are Building Better Minds.

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