Students and staff at Kearney High were greeted to a treat during a morning assembly yesterday.
The Milken National Educator Award has been recognizing teachers across the country for years, and yesterday the entire school witnessed one of their own receive this award.
Students and staff gathered yesterday for what they thought was a student presentation, but little did they know one of their very own teachers would be receiving a prestigious award.
A shocked Kevin Witte could only focus on a few things when he heard Governor Dave Heinemann call his name as the precipitant of the Milken Educator Award.
"Get the heart rate down, relax, kind of get your composure but enjoy every second of it."
Witte, who has been a social studies teacher at Kearney High for twelve years now, has traveled abroad multiple times and with each experience brought back information to help educate and inspire students to see the world. Making him a prime candidate for the award, that wasn't an easy secret to keep.
"It's been doing on for about three or four week. I've had to keep the secret and just planning it and not letting the car out of the bag. It's been a lot of work getting the special guests here and just putting a script together and the biggest thing obviously was just keeping the secret," said Dostal.
A check for $25,000 has also been awarded to Witte as part of the award, which opens doors to travel and further educate students on the world.
"There might be somewhere that was always on my list that may have been difficult to reach. That might have to think about that just a little bit and take advantage of that opportunity," Witte said.
And while he's honored and grateful to receive such praise, Witte credits the people around him most.
"None of it would be possible without the incredible school and community and the students that I get to work with. But I just am incredibly honored right now," he said.
The Milken Foundation honors about forty teachers and principals throughout the country each year.
Witte is the only teacher to be given the award in Nebraska this year, and the first teacher to receive the award in Kearney since 2004.