Menominee Indian High School teacher honored as Wisconsin's 'Teacher of the Year'

Keshena high school teacher, Ben Grignon, receives the Teacher of the Year Award, May 14, 2018. (WLUK)

KESHENA (WLUK) -- Ben Grignon thinks he's just here for Menominee Indian High School's Native American Day assembly.

But what he doesn’t know is that he is the reason for this ceremony.

The Keshena high school teacher is one of five Wisconsin Teachers chosen as Teacher of the Year.

State Superintendent Tony Evers presented Grignon with the award in front of the entire school.

"He has taken the Menominee culture and language and is using art to make sure that those things are respected and made more important for the young people," said Evers.

Grignon is a craft teacher. He expands craftsmanship to understanding the language and culture behind the art.

“I do an experimental archaeology class where they look at traditional implements used by Menominee people, like a deer call or traditional spoons, where we try to recreate that and see how that was done," Grignon explains.

He teaches many different traditional arts and his lesson plans emphasize the school’s Native American culture.

For example, a traditional clay piece that doubles as a phone speaker.

"It's really important that our kids see success like this so they know that they can do it too," Grignon said.

Grignon was nominated by the principle of Menominee Indian High School and he was selected out of hundreds of teachers throughout the state.

The award is sponsored by former senator Herb Kohl. It includes $3,000 for the recipient.

"What I’m hoping to do is create a curriculum that is based on our seasons,” said Grignon. “And I hope this is going to help move that along."

He hopes to use this fellowship to experiment with the traditional and native art. Grignon also works with Tribal Daycare and the Language and Culture Commission.

He’s been at the high school since 2008.

He shares the high school Teacher of the Year award with an English teacher from Waukesha North,

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