A chemistry teacher at Weir High School in Weirton who earned a graduate degree from West Virginia University was named to USA TODAY s eighth annual All-USA Teacher Team.

Pete Karpyk, who received a masters degree in communication studies from WVU in 1982, was one of 20 winners to receive trophies and share in a $2,500 cash award with their school.

Karpyk, an immigrant of Ukrane descent, who arrived in the United States at age 4 and spoke no English, is a true American dream story. He barely graduated from high school, but went on to excel in college ( Youngstown State and WVU ) and is now helping others learn.

Some of those activities and experiments, according to the article, involve inspiring students to love science through exploding pumpkins, shrink-wrapping students and launching soda-bottle rockets.

Karpyks enthusiasm has paid off. Many of his former students have gone on to become engineers, doctors, pharmacists and nurses.

In fact, his students are so enthusiastic and knowledgeable in chemistry that Robert Nakon, professor emeritus at WVU , would put the Weir students in the front row of his large lectures.I knew these kids were well-prepared, and I knew I could call on them,Professor Nakon said.

Karpyk began his teaching career in 1977. In addition to his classroom duties, he serves as the science expert onKidz Newz,a television program broadcast throughout West Virginia.

Team members were chosen in a two-step process from teachers nominated throughout the country. Judges considered how well teachers define and meet their students needs and the influence they have on students and learning.

Karpyk was nominated by his colleague Cathy Adam.

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