Katie Van Ravenhorst’s love for teaching has paid off with an award from the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Van Ravenhorst, an English teacher at Bryan High School, won the VFW National Citizenship Education Teaching Award Jan. 16. at the VFW Post 2503’s meeting.
The award is given to teachers who have shown citizenship and civic duties in their classrooms.
“It’s really about helping to give the kids a voice and having them figure it out,” Van Ravenhorst said.
“Teenagers have all kinds of opinions and things they want to change, but they don’t necessarily know how to go about that.”
In her classroom, Van Ravenhorst said she promotes finding students’ voices and embracing their rights.
“Whether through writing or class conversation or small group conversations, I want to give them those resources and the opportunity,” she said.
Van Ravenhorst, her mother and sister have all won the VFW National Citizenship Education Teaching Award.
Van Ravenhorst said she was honored to win the award.
“It’s humbling because there are so many great teachers in this building and throughout Omaha Public Schools who do the same thing,” she said. “I’m glad I’m being recognized for it just in the fact that if I’m being recognized, it’s because my kids are getting what I’m supposed to be doing. That’s the ultimate goal.”
Coming from a family of teachers, Van Ravenhorst has always enjoyed the thought of educating children.
“I’ve always had a desire to help others in different ways, and as a classroom teacher, I get that opportunity,” she said.
“With the English concentration, you get the freedom to do that in different ways.”
Van Ravenhorst has taught at Bryan for 15 years, and said she isn’t stopping there.
“I have no plans on leaving,” she said. “It’s a great school, and I think it’s OPS’ best-kept secret.”