An eastern Iowa science teacher accepts a national honor from an insurance company today. Hector Ibarra is the 100th winner of State Farm’s Good Neighbor Award and is only the third Iowan to receive it. Ibarra teaches 6th through 8th grade at West Branch Middle School, just east of Iowa City.Ibarra says he’s able to get parents, businesses and communities involved in school science projects to help kids learn. Ibarra has taught at West Branch Middle for 20 years. While Ibarra will get a plaque for his innovation and leadership in education, his school gets a check from State Farm for five-thousand dollars. Ibarra wants to see some of that money used to set up a Hall of Excellence at the school, to feature pictures and addresses of former students who’ve gone on to good careers.Another one of his projects involves designing and building foot-long solar-powered cars and racing them. The competition has grown from just his school to 130 middle schools statewide, involving ten-thousand Iowa kids. The award presentation is at 7 p-m in West Branch.
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