Seward Middle School teacher wins 10/11 Golden Apple Award

SEWARD, Neb. Hans Eickmeier teaches math and writing at Seward Middle School, and it's a profession that he finds quite rewarding. "Both of my parents were teachers, and once I got into high school, I thought, yeah, this is what I want to be doing," Eickemeier said.

10/11 has teamed up with the Doane University College of Education to honor an outstanding educator on the last Wednesday of each month. Mr. Eickmeier is the latest teacher to receive the Golden Apple Award.

Mr. Eickmeier has been in the teaching profession for 19 years. He says his career started in Grand Island, then he spent about 7 years in Little Rock, Arkansas. From there, he spent 4 years in Memphis, Tennessee, and he is now in his third year at Seward Middle School. He's taught almost every subject at the middle school level, and he says he enjoys working with that age group. "I feel like I relate to them. They make me laugh, and I feel like I have a connection," Eickmeier said. "If they know you are invested in them, they are going to be invested in you. That's always been my philosophy."

Karine Gottschalk and Tarryn Hartman are 7th graders at Seward Middle School. They had Mr. Eickmeier in 5th grade. They say Mr. Eickmeier really cares. "If a student was confused, he would never leave them confused," Hartman said. "There was a time when I was confused, and he never gave up on me." Karnie Gottschalk says Mr. Eickmeier never seems to have a bad day. "He was there to help you, not just with math, but maybe some problems you are having with life. He'll sit down and talk with you." Gottschalk said.

Nate Stepp, who is a school psychologist with ESU 6 and Seward Public Schools nominated Mr. Eickmeier for the Golden Apple Award. "He helps me coach junior high wresting here at Seward," Stepp said. "He forms great relationships with the kids, and I get excited with wrestling sometimes, so he's always there to calm me down and keep me on track," Stepp said.

The Seward Middle School principal Kirk Gottschalk says he's happy Mr. Eickmeier is getting recognition through the Golden Apple Award, and he says honoring teachers is important. "Teaching is tougher than the general public realizes, I believe, because of society changes. We have to change our strategies in how we approach kids and situations that kids are dealing with," Gottschalk said. "There are a lot of unsung heroes out there."

Mr. Eickmeier says he won't soon forget the recognition he's received from the Golden Apple Award, and he says he's looking forward to displaying the award on his desk in class.