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Regina high school teacher receives national award

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A Regina high school teacher is receiving national recognition for his innovative teaching methods.

Dean Vendramin, who teaches Grades 9 to 12 at Archbishop M.C. O’Neill, received the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Vendramin uses the game Minecraft to teach social studies and math. He has also incorporated 3-D printing into his robotics classes and is the leader of the school’s e-sports club that takes place in his classroom over the noon hour.

“Students are going to have to solve wicked problems that don't even exist yet,” Vendramin said.

"If I taught the way I was taught, I think we'd get the same thing, so it's always important to try new things.”

Vendramin is one of 17 teachers across the country to receive the award, and the only teacher in Saskatchewan.

“Having that kind of involvement with his student body shows why Dean has been voted the number one teacher three years in a row in Regina and he's well deserving of the award,” said Regina-Lewvan MP Warren Steinley, who presented the award to Vendramin on Friday.

Vendramin credits his late parents for being his greatest teachers. He said he now looks to his children, who gave him the idea to use Minecraft as a teaching tool, for inspiration.

“Kids inspire me everyday and the way I feel now, I could keep teaching for a long time,” said Vendramin, who has been teaching in the Regina Catholic school system for the last 25 years.

As much as his kids and students inspire him, those in his classroom look to Vendramin for inspiration.

“I'm choosing to go into education next year and I have him as someone to look forward to working with one day and someone to be a mentor and to reflect his teaching skills and how he works with his students,” said Grade 12 student Sydney Wszolek.

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