Michael Russell, an eighth-grade science teacher at Bridgewater-Raritan Middle School (BRMS), has been selected for the 2020 VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award at the middle school level. Russell, sponsored by VFW Post 370 in Highland Park, was chosen for his work creating initiatives designed to educate his students and the school on the importance and sacrifices of America’s veterans.
“Dr. Russell has led initiatives in our school that have done an outstanding job of educating our school on the importance and accomplishments of veterans and why we should recognize them at every opportunity,” wrote BRMS Assistant Principal Jacqueline Loughridge in a letter to the VFW supporting his nomination.
As a former sergeant with the Army National Guard and volunteer firefighter, Russell finds his military and volunteer service have greatly influenced his teaching methods. From establishing a Veterans History Club, which included veteran discussions, visits to veterans’ memorials and supporting the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project, to organizing schoolwide fundraisers to generate donations and supplies for service members, veterans and their families, his dedication and initiatives in the classroom have enabled him to have a positive impact on everyone he meets.
“Every one of these endeavors has helped me to better understand the responsibilities of civic duty, patriotism, and volunteerism, all of which I try to demonstrate and instill in my students each year,” Russell wrote.