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Sunburst teacher honored as Montana History Teacher of the Year



Helena, Montana – The 41st state, Montana, became a member of the union on November 8.

As the Montana Statehood Centennial Bell rang out to commemorate Montana’s statehood, a Sunburst teacher was named the Montana History Teacher of the Year in the State Capitol.

“There are so many other incredible educators in our state. And to be selected as the Montana history teacher is, I don’t have words for it,” says Montana History Teacher of the Year, Hali Richmond.

At the 34th annual Montana Statehood Centennial Bell Award Ceremony, Hali Richmond received recognition for her exceptional work instructing third- and fourth-grade children in history.

A history teacher for grades seven through twelfth is selected in even-numbered years, while a teacher for grades four through six is selected in odd-numbered years.

Prior to starting her career as a teacher at Sunburst, Richmond held positions in several one-room schools.

Bree Chilton, a student of hers at the time, and the principal of Sunburst both submitted nominations for her.

Molly Kruckenberg, director of the Montana Historical Society, says it’s critical to acknowledge and recognize educators who go above and beyond to help children understand the history of the state.

“You know history teachers kinda have a bad rap, I think, of being dull and boring. And so, it’s those teachers who really have the passion and the drive and the commitment to make history so much more accessible to their students is incredibly important,” says Kruckenberg.

Richmond received approximately $4,700 as the prize winner, including funding from the Montana Television Network.

She intends to use it to modify classrooms and assemble trunks filled with objects like historical artifacts and original source documents.

According to Richmond, teaching children about history is essential if they are to have a greater sense of connection to and comprehension of their heritage.

“I think it’s important for kids to understand their background so that they have a sense of belonging, so they feel grounded when they go to take off, they have something to come back to. They understand the community that has raised them and help shape them into who they are and given them a piece of who they are,” says Richmond.

Richmond’s class rang the bell to commemorate Montana’s 134th birthday, capping the occasion.



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