Teacher wins $5,000 award

PORT TOWNSEND — Jim Roberts, a teacher at Jefferson Community School and Peninsula College, has won an Excellence in Education, Environment and Community Award from a pioneer organization in environmental education.

The award, which includes a $5,000 prize, is the first of its kind presented by IslandWood, a Bainbridge Island environmental learning center that serves students and teachers in Puget Sound.

Roberts will receive half of the money, with the other half going to the nonprofit program of his choice.

Roberts, who goes by the nickname Robbie, said he plans to use the money to widen opportunities for students in Pha Pang, a village in Thailand.

“It will go toward a scholarship program we’re going to create for the kids in the village,” Roberts said.

“Hopefully, we can bring a couple of the kids from the village to our school.”

Since founding the YMCA Expedition Club in 2001, Roberts has taken more than 80 local students to Pha Pang to experience life in a rural Asian village, he said.

He also helped found the Ichikawa, Japan, student exchange program at the high school in 1998.

This June, he is taking 23 students from the Expedition Club to the Thai village.

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