Students say Rudge is deserving of Teacher of Year nomination

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SARASOTA - A Suncoast teacher has received a major recognition, being named as one of the finalists for the state's Teacher of the Year. And according to her students, Riverview’s Katrin Rudge is very deserving of the honor.

Rudge isn't your average teacher. “Besides caring, she loves to go out of her way to help her students. She's been writing grants, but she'll take time to give me opportunities or to introduce me to a person in the field or to get a scholarship or to even take a field trip out. She's wonderful about her job and she cares about her students,” says student Allison Vilardi.

She goes the extra mile, and now Rudge is being recognized at the state level for all her hard work, as one of five Teacher of the Year finalists.

“I had no idea this was coming,” says Rudge.

She has taught marine science at Riverview High School for the last 13 years, and she created the aquadome portion of the school's "stars to starfish" planetarium program, working with Mote Marine Laboratory on the project.

“I've always been inspired by science by doing it hands on, and we've created this outdoor greenhouse to bring students in to explore, touch, feel, learn about water quality. It's a true STEM program.”

Rudge's students say she's able to make a subject that's potentially not so interesting into something exciting to study. “I joined the Marine Biology Club this year, and I was never really interested in it. But the teacher, she's made it a great experience and I really enjoy it. She's one of the greatest teachers I've ever had,” says Gerardo Vargas.

Of course the students say they're not surprised by the nomination. And regardless of the outcome, they say Rudge is their Teacher of the Year.

“I feel like it's such an honor for me, and I'm hoping to inspire others to do programs such as this one.”

The winner will be announced in July.