East China Schools teacher wins education award

A longtime St. Clair High School teacher recently won an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.

Mark Eberhard, who teaches freshman biology and advanced placement biology, is “known for seeking out ways to inspire students to excel in the classroom and to foster their personal growth,” a press release from the Michigan Lottery states.

Eberhard has taught at East China Schools for 32 years.

Excellence in Education award nominees are evaluated based on excellence, dedication, inspiration, leadership and effectiveness. The awards were established in 2014 to recognize public school educators during the school year.

As a winner of the award, Eberhard will receive a plaque, a $1,500 cash prize and a $500 grant to benefit his classroom, school or school district. He will also have the opportunity to be selected as the Educator of the Year, an award that includes a $10,000 cash prize.

Eberhard was nominated by a former principal at St. Clair High School who described him as “an outstanding teacher for more than three decades,” the release states.

“Not only does he teach all classes from ninth grade biology to advanced placement biology, he excels in two other areas that have provided countless students the opportunity to blossom. Those areas are student leadership and theater,” the former principal said in the nomination. “For the past 30 years, he has led a student government numbering more than 100 students each year to shape programs that impact every student at the school.”

He also said Eberhard served as the lead teacher at a statewide leadership summer camp with more than 600 students each summer and revived the theater program at the high school in 1997, which later resulted in the construction of a $7.2 million fine arts building in 2002 with the support of parents and the community.

The nomination said Eberhard “continually reinvents himself and is tireless in providing, not only students in his classes an exemplary educational experience, but all students who choose to apply themselves each day in school and become involved.”

Eberhard earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biological sciences from Michigan State University and a Master of Arts degree in theater directing from the Roosevelt University Chicago College of Performing Arts.

He said his favorite parts of being an educator are “creating experiences in and out of the classroom that help create opportunities for growth for students. Watching students strive and succeed. Seeing the light go on for them when they grasp a new concept or idea. Seeing their passion ignite.”

Eberhard said he is motivated to do his best every day to set an example for his students.

“If I am going to expect my students and colleagues to give their best effort, I must give my best effort,” he said. “Students know if you are working in their best interest, and they will appreciate and reward your investment in them with their gratitude, friendship and efforts. They will be willing to go the ‘extra mile’ to meet your expectations.”

— Emily Pauling, The Voice

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