STEVENSVILLE — Stevensville High School Government and History teacher Wes Wells was recently recognized as National History Day Senior Teacher of the Year.
While Wells was surprised by the honor, staff and his students say it was well deserved.
National History Day is an academic competition where students focus on a theme, research a topic and put together a visual presentation on their topic.
“We have everything from exhibits, where kids are basically creating a science fair type of exhibit where they’re telling a story visually to documentaries, we’ve had students who have produced websites, and wrote historical papers," Wells explained.
The students in his class -- nearly 40 in all -- then entered into a regional competition followed by a state competition. They did very well in both. Last week,
Wells -- who found out he was the state of Montana representative for the National History Day Teacher of the Year -- was humble about his recognition.
“We played this kind of supervisory role and let the kids go. That’s the greatest joy to see the kids produce the results by themselves.”
His students will tell you Wells did a lot more than just stand back and watch.
He’s very good at motivating his kids to get stuff done, and he gave us these good ideas on how to really analyze and break down all of the information we were getting.” said junior Garrett Schrieber who added Wells was there every step of the way.
Fellow junior classmates, Fenn Chimo and Olivia Peretto, also participated in the National History Day competition and have high praise for their teacher.
“I definitely think that he has earned it and his style of teaching is definitely one that is beneficial toward the students," Chimo said.
“He really offers us a lot of opportunities to boost our resume and get out into the world in ways that teachers have never really done for me personally," Peretto added.
Principal Brian Gum says having an educator like Wells on his staff is invaluable.
“Those type of educators reflect on our students, so I feel like my students here at Stevensville High School -- especially my AP students -- have access to a top-level educator who really is able to take those in-depth topics and bring them to life," Gum told MTN News.
Humble to the end, Wells did open up enough to admit that this is a special honor, "it’s a tremendous honor to be included with other teachers nationally.”
A national winner will be selected from the state winners next month with the overall winner receiving $10,000.