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BVHS’s Lovrien named S.D. Biology Teacher of Year
By By Jill Meier
Challenger editor

June 17. 2013 6:00AM
Justin Lovrien’s won two big awards in his 13-year teaching career at Brandon Valley High School.

Five years ago, he landed the title of Brandon Valley Teacher of the Year. And most recently, Lovrien was selected as the South Dakota Biology Teacher of the Year.

Both have special meaning.

“You don’t realize how much they mean until you actually receive them,” Lovrien says of the honors. “It means a lot; it keeps you going.”

Of the BV Teacher of the Year laurel, Lovrien said he was humbled to be nominated by students.

“And this one (I’m nominated) by fellow science teachers in the state, so it’s very rewarding as well.”

The South Dakota Biology Teacher of the Year comes compliments of the South Dakota Biology Teachers Association and Sanford Health.

This was Lovrien’s second year of being nominated for the award. While unsure who submitted his name, it was then up to the Brandon Valley teacher to submit an essay, three letters of recommendation on his behalf and a summary of “what you’re doing with technology beyond your classroom,” he explained.

And Lovrien has made a difference beyond the walls of his high school biology room. “I do a lot with hatching eggs for elementary (teachers) … to help those teachers that don’t have a biology degree but would like to teach science in their classroom,” he said.

Lovrien’s ongoing desire to learn was also a consideration in the award.
“I’ve attended conferences and attended things in the summer trying to learn,” he said.
“Sometimes traveling to Minnesota to take a class takes more time and it’s more expensive than if I did it locally, but if they have professors there that can teach you something about biology, then it’s really rewarding. But other times, it feels not rewarding, so to have the South Dakota Science Teacher Association recognize the time that it takes to get those extra credits is really meaningful.”

As the recipient of the state award, Lovrien has a choice to make: $1,000 for his classroom or a trip to attend the National Science Teachers Association conference.

“I don’t know which I want,” he confessed moments after he was presented the award. “I want to do both.”

Justin Lovrien was selected as the South Dakota 2013 Outstanding Biology Teacher of the Year. The award was presented by the National Association of Biology Teachers and Sanford Health. Photo by Jill Meier

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