Burbach honored as Vermillion Teacher of Year By David Lias
Plain Talk An audience filled with familiar faces watched May 24 as Gretchen Burbach received Teacher of the Year honors from the Vermillion School Board. Burbach was presented the award during Vermillion High School's commencement exercises held that Sunday in the DakotaDome. "I feel a little bit like I've gone full circle," Burbach said. "I'm a Vermillion High School graduate myself, and eight years ago, I was in my very first year of teaching in the Vermillion School District and this talented graduating class in front of me sat in my fourth grade music class." Burbach has been teaching music at Austin and Jolley Elementary schools since graduating from The University of South Dakota in 2000. She is a member of the Vermillion Community Theatre and has started a musical pre-school as a summer program. "She has provided her students with a musical background that will allow the children of Vermillion to enjoy music for the rest of their lives," Vermillion School Board President Mark Bottolfson said. "Her students learn basic music skills that open the door for elementary students to pursue music in upper grades. He noted that Burbach collaborates with classroom teachers to provide music instruction that coordinates with regular classroom curriculum. "She is a team player who makes the music program effective and enjoyable," Bottolfson said. "I will treasure this honor today, but as any teacher knows, the greatest honor is to see her students graduate. Congratulations to my first graduates, and may you choose a career that you love to do just as much as I do," Burbach said after accepting the award.