Apache Junction High School history teacher McDaniel receives national educator award

Alec McDaniel

Instead of merely teaching history, Alec McDaniel is making some history of his own. The Apache Junction High School teacher was recently selected as a Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction by the National Society of High School Scholars.

Mr. McDaniel was nominated by a student for showing outstanding dedication and commitment to excellence in the profession, according to a release.

This honor recognizes exemplary educators whose passion and devotion inspire their students to grow and develop as scholars, leaders and citizens.

“Dedicated educators who exhibit a commitment to excellence deserve our highest praise and appreciation,” NSHSS President James W. Lewis said in a release.

“We hope to acknowledge and encourage the vital work of the teachers, counselors and administrators who are shaping the intellect and character of our young scholars,” he said.

Mr. McDaniel is renowned for his unique and creative ways to make history come alive for students, according to the release.

Examples include a spin on the popular show Shark Tank where students take on the persona of great inventors in the Industrial Revolution and find investors for the era’s inventions such as the cotton gin, telegraph and steamboat.

In another project, students researched influential figures of the Progressive Era (1890-1920), took on the persona of the person they researched and then interacted with one another in a simulated, speed-dating format to learn more about the historical figures they were impersonating, as well as learning more about the events that shaped their lives, according to the release.

The National Society of High School Scholars seeks to advance the goals and aspirations of high-achieving students through unique learning experiences, scholarships, internships, international study and peer networks.

Formed in 2002 by James W. Lewis and Claes Nobel, senior member of the family that established the Nobel Prizes, The National Society of High School Scholars recognizes academic excellence at the high school level and helps to advance the goals and aspirations of high-achievers through unique learning experiences, scholarships, internships, international student and peer networks. There are more than 1.3 million society members in 160 countries. For more information about NSHSS, visit www.snhss.org.

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