This story originally appeared on KTVH.com, written by John Riley.
The State Capitol echoed with the ringing of the Statehood Centennial Bell on Nov. 8 to commemorate Montana’s admittance into the union 130 years ago.
Historians, educators and proud Montanans gathered at the Capitol Friday for the occasion and to honor Debra Crow from Garrison School as the Montana History Teacher of the year.
Crow and her students had the honor of ringing the Statehood Centennial Bell at 10:40 a.m., the same time Montana officially became a state.
This is the 30th year of the Montana Statehood Centennial Bell Award.
It is given to the Montana History Teacher of the Year for their work and dedication to state history.
Crow is the first rural teacher to receive the honor.
“Mrs. Crow is an amazing history teacher,” said Garrison School student Riley Harrison. “I really understand everything she’s taught me, and I’m grateful to have such an amazing teacher. She goes to the maximum on every subject and makes sure we understand every bit of it.”
Crow utilizes Montana Historical Society traveling trunks and field trips to show her students history is all around them.
She told MTN history is key to our future and she’s proud to share that with her students.
“As Robert Heinlein says, if you don’t teach history we’ll never have a future and we won’t have a past,” said Crow. “I love working with children, I love inspiring them, I love it when they say ‘oh I got that!’ Those are joys in my classroom.”
As a part of the award, Crow received more than $3,000 from The Montana History Foundation, the Sons and Daughters of Montana Pioneers, and the Montana Television Network.
Crow says she plans on using the funding for some additional field trips, bringing more humanities actors to the school and a few surprises.