Our latest Golden Apple Award winner is a history teacher from Immanuel Lutheran School in Mankato

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Published: Jan. 11, 2023 at 8:37 PM CST
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Ben Hanel, a history teacher at Immanuel Lutheran School in Mankato, is our latest Golden Apple Award winner.

“I do feel a connection with each and every one of these kids because I get to know them and their families. I’ve grown up with their families,” said Hanel.

Hanel graduated from Immanuel Lutheran School in 2001. Before teaching U.S. history here, he served in the U.S. Air Force. Hanel has been teaching for five years. He says, in that time, he’s been learning and growing right alongside his students and other educators.

”I’m always looking to better my methods,” said Hanel.

For the last few years, he’s been organizing trips to Washington, D.C. to expand high school juniors’ understanding of American history.

“DC is definitely the highlight of our year in the history classes. We see Gettysburg, Mount Vernon and all the sites in Washington, D.C., explained Hanel.

His high school students appreciate when he takes a few minutes out of the class to show what’s going on in the world.

“It makes me more aware of what’s happening. So I really appreciated that because it’s like I’m not just kind of in this bubble and I’m still getting exposed to the world, said Rebecca Heinze, a freshman at Immanuel Lutheran.

Students and school officials agree he brings real-world experiences and stories to his classroom.

“Whenever it’s not just the textbook that makes a huge difference in students’ eyes because they can see the textbook they can see the text in the page. But if you can bring that story to life in some way with your experiences, your past experiences other experiences that other students may have had in the past as well. Those kinds of things can really make a huge difference to an education for these students,” said Brandan Heinze, Immanuel Lutheran’s principal.

Congratulations to Ben Hanel, this week’s Golden Apple Award recipient.

If you would like to nominate a teacher for the Golden Apple Award, visit keyc.com.