A local retired high school teacher has been selected by President Barack Obama as one of only 108 teachers around the country for a prestigious award.
Pete Karpyk taught at Weir High for 36 years and couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw that he had been selected as a recipient for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
“I read the email and my mind went blank. I think I read it 5 times. I couldn’t past the first line. I kind of felt like my whole teaching career was flashing before my eyes,” Karpyk says.
It was a 2 year process for Karpyk to receive this prestigious honor. First, he had to be nominated. Then, he had to submit 14 pages of essays, a 30 minute video of a classroom lectures, and letters of recommendation.
After that, three finalists in West Virginia were chosen and Karpyk was told not to tell anyone about the prestigious award he was possibly going to receive.
“They make it clear, do not tell anyone. It doesn’t mean that you’ve won. And I found it very hard not to tell family what happened. Glad it’s over,” Karpyk says.
Soon, he was on the road to Washington D.C. to meet President Obama along with the 107 other teachers who were selected from every state.
“We started hooting and hollering. We were excited all 108 teachers were excited and he really appreciated it. He (Obama) said we were the most enthusiastic audience he’s had,” Karpyk says.
Karpyk says this was also used as a chance for President Obama to get feedback from these teachers around the country and hear what’s on their minds.