SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — 6th grade Sonora Middle School science teacher Justin High was May’s Golden Apple winner. The award commends excellent teachers or other school leaders and role models for the positive influence they have on their kids.

High was nominated by parents for “bringing his science class to life each an every day by incorporating his many animals into his science lessons.” A nominating parent adds that “he always makes the classroom fun, interactive, and engaging. Beyond that, he builds relationships with even the toughest of students. He challenges them to be the change in the world. He is making a difference in their lives one day at a time.”

Mr. Highs class cheered loudly when he was given the award.

“It’s really surreal,” High said, holding the Golden Apple. “Honestly I’m still trembling right now.”

“Kids need to realize that, you know, education and life is the one thing that nobody can ever take away from you. And if you make it fun now, they’ll carry it with them for the rest of your life…So when you come down to them and then work with them to bring them up, they’re going to learn better, you’re going to learn better, and you’re going to succeed together. And that’s what’s important.”

If you want to nominate a teacher for future Golden Apple awards, you can fill out the form linked here.