For the Excellence in Education Award, one teacher received over 60 nominations.
His name is Barry Houser, a man with amazing amounts of energy and an even bigger heart.
This is his last year of teaching, and his students wanted to give a Newscenter16 Excellence in Education Award as their way of saying thanks.
In his six years at Northwood High School, Houser’s band program grew from 40 members to over 100 strong – the largest band in school history.
His enthusiasm is contagious and he seeks to instill his enthusiasm and confidence in his kids.
“When you get a hundred kids, and everyone is going for that positive goal and everyone is going for it, it's an amazing energy. Whether you make state or are nationally recognized, that really is nothing compared to what you're able to experience and build that confidence,” said Houser.
But for teenagers, confidence is sometimes hard to come by, and the kids in his band say that Houser listens with a caring heart.
He tells them to stay positive no matter what the problem.
“There are still a lot of things that kids face at home, and home life comes to school. If you can make a little bit of a change in that student’s life, give them a little bit of a spark of hope, I think that's my main goal. Beyond the music, I think that's made the difference here,” said Houser.
Thanks to Houser, these kids are literally going places.
His band is well-traveled, performing in numerous out-of-state competitions and parades.
Houser grew up in nearby North Liberty, but quickly became a star at the University of Florida when he had the opportunity to be the drum major of the marching band.
But the time has come for Houser to move on.
He is going to pursue a Master's degree at the University of Illinois, but he will never forget his time at Northwood.
“Northwood is a very special place with some amazing students. And it's been such a joy here. It's very near and dear to my heart and always will be,” said Houser.
Mr. Houser is a busy man - in addition to moving this summer, he is also getting married.
But before that, he has one last big trip with the band.
The group leaves Friday for a parade in Washington, D.C.