BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) – John Quesenberry, a Civics and History teacher at Woodrow Wilson High School for 20 years, is being recognized for the impact he makes on his students’ lives. 

Quesenberry is one of ten finalists for the The National Civics Teacher of the Year Award, which is presented by the Bill of Rights Institute.

Quesenberry said it is an honor, not just to be recognized, but to represent his home state on a national stage.

“It’s a pleasant surprise to make the final ten, especially being from West Virginia,” Quesenberry told 59News. “People tend to overlook us and not realize just what we have to offer.”

Quesenberry is an institution, not just at Woodrow, but all throughout the Raleigh County community. 

In addition to teaching, he’s dedicated his time to leading Woodrow’s model UN club, as well as coaching football at both Park and Independence Middle Schools. 

Woodrow Wilson Principal Ryan Stafford, a former student of Quesenberry’s, said there is no Civics teacher in the country more deserving of the award.

“He’s the kind of person that you want your young people to be around, whether it’s on the football field or in the classroom,” Stafford told 59News.

Quesenberry said he tries to use his lessons about history and government to bring people together, a job he says is now harder than ever in today’s extremely divisive political climate.

“It seems like public schools and the military are about the only places left where you have to be around people from all walks of life. Some agree with you, some don’t, and you have to work and learn with each other and from each other,” said Quesenberry. “I really feel like Civics, and the public school system, are the place where we have a chance to get our country back to the place it needs to be.”

Quesenberry told 59News the interaction with his students and his lifelong curiosity to continue learning have him more enthusiastic than ever in his 36th year of teaching.

The winner of the National Civics Teacher of the Year Award will be announced on Friday, September 15.