Forest Meadow Junior High math teacher Lauren Denison has received the Texas Instruments Foundation Innovations in STEM Teaching Award. The honor recognizes educators for their commitment to sharing their love of science, technology, engineering and math.

Denison says she was “surprised, happy and honored” when representatives of TI and the RISD Excellence in Education Foundation arrived in her classroom to present the award, along with RISD Superintendent Dr. Kay Waggoner and Assistant Superintendent Bob DeVoll. Denison received a $10,000 grant, to be split between personal use and classroom projects.

“The best part about teaching junior high kids is that they make me laugh,” Denison told me. She finds it rewarding, she says, to watch them see the consequences of their decisions – both good and bad – and to help them make good ones.

Her biggest challenge? “Helping them see past today,” she says, “and realize that their decisions will affect their future.”

Amen, sister.

Denison, who also serves as a TAP Mentor Teacher and AVID mentor, will be honored at the Foundation awards gala.