Historians, teachers, students, and proud Montanans gathered at the Capitol on Thursday to honor Tony Coppola as the Montana history teacher of the year.
Students from Lone Peak High School joined their teacher in ringing the Montana statehood centennial bell at 10:40 a.m. to commemorate the time and day that Montana joined the union in 1889.
This is the 29th year of the “Montana Statehood Centennial Bell Award,” which is given to a distinguished history teacher in the state.
Coppola teaches social studies at Lone Peak High School in Big Sky and created a class around the history perspectives of the indigenous people of Montana.
He believes that by having his students understand Montana’s past they can help improve the state’s future.
As a part of the award, Coppola received more than $3,000 from The Montana History Foundation, the Sons and Daughters of Montana Pioneers, and the Montana Television Network.
Coppola plans on using the money to expand field trip opportunities for his students by taking them to the Montana Historical Society in Helena and the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center in Great Falls.
Students celebrate Montana’s birthday by ringing Centennial Bell