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James Kennedy receives Perham-Dent's Teacher of the Year award

James Kennedy is officially Perham's-Dent's Teacher of the Year. The physical education teacher accepted the award in the gymnasium at Heart of the Lakes Elementary School.

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James Kennedy received his award to much applause from his fellow teachers and students. Michel Denny/Perham Focus

James Kennedy is officially Perham's-Dent's Teacher of the Year. The physical education teacher accepted the award in the gymnasium at Heart of the Lakes Elementary School.

After his name was called, he approached the front of the crowd to much applause. Kennedy gave a brief impromptu speech, praising his fellow teachers and leading a thunderous yellow-jacket cheer.

"I'm honored to be elected teacher of the year, it's great to have that title," said Kennedy, who spoke highly of the school and its staff. "We have so many awesome teachers."

Kennedy has been teaching for over a decade and has been in the Perham-Dent district for six years. He was nominated by his peers, then the teaching union voted him in as Teacher of the Year.

According to Principle Jen Hendrickson, "Kennedy is the perfect teacher to receive the award." She commended him for his work with action-based learning. "I think physical education is critical," said Hendrickson when asked about the importance of physical education in a school setting. Kennedy received a great deal of compliments on his ability to form positive relationships with students. He believes that exercise and academic success are inherently connected, and he is a major player in fusing education with physical conditioning in the school. Kennedy has been devising action-based learning labs, which are designed to keep the body healthy while bolstering education. In an action-based learning lab a student can theoretically exercise their muscles while practicing their spelling.

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Kennedy is bringing new ideas into the district. In an era where recess and physical education classes are being slowly removed from curriculums around the country, Kennedy and his peers double down on the importance of health and exercise.

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