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Columbia, SC (WLTX) - According to Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, the definition of science is "knowledge attained through study or practice." One teacher at St Andrew Middle School has the science of being a science teacher down to a "T".

6th and 7th grade teacher Dr. Loretta Leaphart's classroom is a vibrant one filled with students excited about learning and a teacher who's excited about teaching.

"I don't know who's getting a bigger benefit, the children or me," Leaphart said.

On top of Dr. Leaphart's 20-plus years of experience as a science teacher, she also brings the understanding that learning should be fun no matter how old her students are.

"My main goal is to make science fun while the children are learning," Leaphart explained. "I just felt that, at an early age, that I could give something. I'm motivated, energized, each day because it is a new day for a new opportunity and to see new growth."

When you ask 7th grade student Michael Gant what he's learning about, he'll tell you, "particles and atoms, elements in the periodic table. It's really interesting!"

Dr. Leaphart is dedicated inside and outside the classroom.

"I go home and I reflect on my day... what could I have done differently? What do I need to do tomorrow to make sure the children really are engaged learning?"

She is invested academically and emotionally.

"You want your children to not only learn, but you do want to bond with them and to have, I say an "everlasting relationship" with them."

These are the reasons why Dr. Leaphart is News19 Golden Apple Award winner.

"It just really brings me great joy to know that they do appreciate me and everything that we're doing here at St. Andrews."

If you know of a teacher who deserves the award, you can visit any Midlands BI-LO store, pick up a Golden Apple Nomination form and tell us why you think your favorite teacher deserves the honor.

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