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Columbia, SC (WLTX)--Bill Vernau is an expert when it comes to basketball, hard work and kids.

For the last 7 year, he's been a physical education instructor at Leaphart Elementary School in Richland Lexington District 5

Before, making the move to Leaphart he spent 14 years at Swansea High School as the head basketball and track and field coach.

During the late 80's and early 90's Vernau, got in his playing time on the hard court at the Carolina Coliseum under Coaches George Felton and Bill Foster.

He knows firsthand the important role physical activity and athletics can play in a child's life.

"It teaches them perseverance; it teaches them team work it teaches them that hard work is going to get you places." Vernau said.

The discipline he learned as an athlete and the patience he's learned as a parent of four makes him the kind of educator that deserves to be recognized.

FOR MORE THAN 20 YEARS he's been making a difference in the lives of children.

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