Donn Kirkwood, 8th grade science teacher at Fairgrove Middle School in Robeson County, applies his lessons to lab experiments and real-world scenarios to get students excited about science. He has succeeded in instilling a passion for science while providing the necessary tools to help each of the children succeed in a future STEM career. Last year, 90 percent of Kirkwood’s 8th grade class performed at or above grade-level for North Carolina’s proficiency standards, higher than district and state averages.