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White named Georgia History Teacher of the Year

By Greg Gelpi

In only a short time, a Morrow High School American history teacher is making history.

Andrew White, who is in his seventh year of teaching, was named the Georgia History Teacher of the Year through a national history teacher competition started by first lady Laura Bush.

"I've won some awards before, but not like this," White said.

Connecting the past to the present, White said he challenges himself to make history relevant to his students and make history interesting to them.

Using the book only as a guideline, he focuses more on classroom discussions and educational activities.

To demonstrate the life of an early American colonist, White said he created a Survivor-style activity similar to the television show.

"I don't use the book a whole lot," White said. "I think the more you learn about history the more interested you get. That's what really got me into teaching history is getting them more involved in history."

He also tries to cover more Bill Clinton and modern American history and less Grover Cleveland and other American history of that period.

Not only does he teach history, the 32-year-old is helping write history by working to revamp the state's history curriculum. White is a member of the committee developing the state Department of Education's Georgia Performance Standards.

William Greene, the Clayton County schools social studies coordinator, nominated White to be the Georgia History Teacher of the Year.

"I have heard rave reviews about him and his insight into the curriculum process," Greene said. "He also has a good rapport with his kids and makes social studies relevant to their experience."

White will learn in the fall if he has won the Preserve America national history teacher of the year honor. He has already received a $1,000 honorarium, several history books and materials for the Morrow High media center.

"Some of the people on the state level knew what I was doing in the classroom," White said. "It's great to know that your peers know what you're doing in the classroom."

White has also been honored as the Morrow High Teacher of the Year and a Fulbright Grant Recipient. He is also a National Board Certified teacher.