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Inspiring teachers rewarded for outstanding efforts

Science Teacher Peter Gammelgard talks to Physics students. Mr. Gammelgard and Digital Media Arts Teacher Christina Levinson recently received “Teacher Who Makes A Difference” awards at Bear River. Photo by Hailey Juergenson

Bear River teachers have developed meaningful relationships with students and, recently, some have won awards for doing so.

This year, Digital Media Arts teacher Christina Levinson and Science Teacher Peter Gammelgard, who have each been working at Bear River for only the past two years, have been recognized with the “Teachers Who Make a Difference” award. This honor is given to teachers who change students’ lives, inspire others, and do more than their fair share around campus. Many students at Bear River say that they are inspired by Mr. Gammelgard and Mrs. Levinson and appreciate all the hard work these teachers do to help them achieve their goals. 

Mrs. Levinson described how great it was to receive this award. 

“I was incredibly honored,” she said. “… just being in the same category with Gammelgard as a teacher is a huge compliment. He’s an incredible teacher.”

Sophomore Arieal Swindell, who is in Mrs. Levinson’s Advanced Video Production class, said that she holds Mrs. Levinson in the highest regard, and views her as more than just a teacher.

“Levinson is that type of teacher that no matter what’s going on in your life she will brighten your day,” Swindell said. “She will always be there if you need someone to talk to, and she gives great advice. She is one of my mentors at school. She is just super sweet and kind.”

Sophomore Thad Clark said that he loves being part of Mrs. Levinson’s classes, and that she deserves this award for being an amazing teacher.

“I’m really excited Levinson won this award, and really happy she won the award,” he said. “She definitely deserves it.”

Mrs. Levinson commented on what sets her apart from other teachers.

“I have really high expectations,” she said. “… At the end of the day, my job is to get people ready for the real world… I want my students to get used to working hard and having high standards.” 

Students said that they are amazed at how Mrs. Levinson and Mr. Gammelgard have proved themselves in their first few years, quickly becoming some of their favorite teachers. Senior Jakob Berger, who is in Mr. Gammelgard’s AP Chemistry class, commented on what he thinks sets Mr. Gammelgard apart from other teachers.

“Gammelgard is a wonderful teacher, and he absolutely deserves the award,” Berger said. “He looks out for kids and he gets kids interests.”

Mr. Gammelgard commented on why he thinks he won the award.

“I try and respect my students, as people first,” said Mr. Gammelgard.

Sophomore Jacob Knox said that he has never personally had either of these teachers, but that he has heard great things from other students at Bear River about Mr. Gammelgard.

“I once heard Connor Ronka say ‘Gammelgard is a god,’” Knox said.

Bear River’s Principal Dr. Amy Besler expressed her enthusiasm in a message to parents regarding the recognition of these two teachers.

“I [had] the honor of celebrating our 2018 Teachers Who Make a Difference in a special Nevada County event at the Miners Foundry,” she said. “This year’s recipients [were] Christina Levinson and Peter Gammelgard, who have both done absolutely incredible things here at Bear River to engage and inspire our students.”

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Inspiring teachers rewarded for outstanding efforts