A Waialua robotics teacher is in the running for top teaching aw - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

A Waialua robotics teacher is in the running for top teaching award and $1 million

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WAIALUA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

A Waialua teacher is one of 50 finalists worldwide in the running for a global teacher award and a $1 million prize.

46-year-old Glenn Lee is a Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) teacher at Waialua High and Intermediate School.

He helped established the first organized robotics program in Hawaii back in 1999.

Some 60 robots, more than 100 competitions and nearly 300 awards later, the accolades keep coming in for the program.

"We won in South Carolina. Two weeks later, we went to Pittsburgh and won there," Lee said as he proudly pointed to several blue award banners hanging around his classroom.

Lee is vying for the Varkey Foundation’s 2018 Global Teacher Prize, a prize he says is equivalent to the Nobel Peace Prize of teaching.

Out of about 30,000 applicants from more than 170 countries, Lee has made to the top 50 finalists.

If he wins, he says the prize money will go a long way.

"(I'd) Donate 10% or $100,000 to our program to create scholarships, funding and to help sustain our program," Lee said. "When people say Waialua, I want them to say we are the best STEM program in the world."

His colleagues admire him, and his students look up to him.

"He's one of those people, that if you ask him for something that's going to help you grow and learn, he's going to do it, he'll go out of his way," 8th grader Levi Kim said.

The top 10 finalists will be announced in February and the the overall winner for the Global Teacher Prize will be selected in March.

Learn more about Glenn Lee and The Global Teacher Prize competition here.

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