Houston Texans All-Star in the Classroom Award

I was simply shocked by this award during the week. It has taken me a couple of days to post the pictures and discuss because... well, I kept thinking that maybe I would wake up and it was just a dream.

There is no better honor than being given recognition by a former student, colleague, or community member. Madison Collier was a student of mine in both AP World History and in AP Psychology. She was an incredible student but so memorable because of the way she was able to mix both hard work and great attitude into one awesome package. I worked pretty hard to teach her some new tricks (especially in the area of test taking, where she would sometimes rush through her work & believed in the myth that your best guess & hunch is your best answer. It's not!)

Madi worked her magic on me as well. Most don't realize the difficulty I have just getting to work each day, let alone teach two very demanding Advanced Placement courses. But, living with Multiple Sclerosis is an incredible challenge. It is students like Madi, who always had a smile, a joke, or just brought the same positive energy to school every day that get me excited to teach each day.
Out of 400 applicants there were TWO winners from AHS. Myself and Mrs. Deutsch.
When Mr. Falker entered the classroom with Madi on his cell phone "facetiming" from College Station and the Houston Texans and Brian Peters (someone I have followed on Twitter since he became a Texan) entered my classroom - I was SHOCKED. It was truly a great honor and made special by Madi (Also my former student Valonia Walker, who is now working for the district in public relations and was in my classroom to document the day).

Brian Peters was probably the perfect Texan to give this award to me. He's a Big Ten guy from Northwestern - a great academic institution. Brian also had to overcome quite a lot to make it to the NFL. As a safety at Northwestern, he went undrafted in the NFL. He bounced from the USFL, AFL, & CFL until finally finding a spot on the Minnesota Vikings and now with the best team in the NFL, my Texans! :)
Texan Brian Peters #52 is also a Northwestern grad and discussed his path to the NFL with the students.
Thank you to Madi and to all those students who give me the energy every day to continue to fight. It means the world to me.
That is actually exactly what the Texans game balls look like each week. So incredible. 
My wonderful 4th period AP Psychology class. 
Madison Collier's Winning Essay: 
Mr. Duez is easily one of the greatest teachers I have ever had. I was lucky enough to have him twice. He always makes jokes and does what he can to make learning fun and prepare his students for the AP Test. What most people may not realize is that Mr. Duez is battling Multiple Sclerosis. The reason people may not know is because of how he does not let it get in the way of his teaching. Mr. Duez has a website for AP World History and AP Psychology. Both websites are so impressive that teachers from all over the country rely his in depth notes and videos. I can not think of a teacher that deserves this more than Mr. Duez. His faith in his students to succeed is unmatched by nearly every teacher I have ever had. 
Oh, & they also gave me tickets to the game on Sunday. Plus, on field passes for warmups. Amazing