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The American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) recently selected Righetti High School Science Teacher Laura Branch as the 2019 Teacher of the Year.

The honor from the international organization with more than 38,000 members in 100-plus different countries comes with a $3,000 for personal use and another $3,000 earmarked for Branch’s classroom. The purpose of the AAPG is to advance science and geology.

“Geology has always been my passion,’’ Branch said. “Teaching geology and about the world around us is my legacy. Finding out I won the AAPG Teacher of the Year Award is a full on dream come true! I started crying when I found out. See, I’ve been battling the last 20 years to get geology to be recognized as a core science at the high school level. Getting this award means my plight of how important geology is for every student to learn about is heard and maybe more will listen about how it is a true core science! Plus, I feel like maybe I am making a difference as a science teacher.”

Branch, who has been a member of the Warrior Science Department for more than 20 years, is known around campus as a “team player”.

“Laura is a phenomenal educator who is always working to connect the curriculum she teaches to real-life experiences, with the goal of making science accessible to all students,’’ said Righetti Science Department Chair and Teacher Rebecca Wingerden, who also provided a letter of recommendation for Branch to the AAPG.

Branch’s collaborative academic projects include the CTE Environmental Resources Pathway, Educators Academy in the Amazon, a campus native garden, securing internships, cross-curricular credit opportunities, being a leader in the adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and much more.

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