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South Lake Elementary Teacher on GMA

Rhonda Ripperger, a STEM teacher at South Lake Elementary School gets kids excited for learning by teaching them about space.

“I just want them to realize that science is all around them,” Ripperger told “Good Morning America.” “Like everywhere they look in the real world, it’s science. And so I just really want to instill that passion in them.”

Good Morning America donated $10,000 to Mrs. Ripperger and South Lake Elementary through Donors Choose, a United States-based nonprofit organization that allows individuals to donate directly to public school classroom projects.

As a STEM teacher Ripperger teaches a program called Smart Lab for students in kindergarten through fifth grade. In Smart Lab, she teaches students how to code and engineering concepts.

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In the past, she’s also led the school’s program called Mission to Mars, a district wide program for fifth and sixth graders where they learn about the planet and participate in competitions.

Ripperger said working with students on these projects and teaching them about science and space is rewarding for her.

“Working with kids and seeing them really make those connections and get excited about learning – that’s definitely the best part because there’s so many facets of STEAM that really you can get to any child through their interest,” she said. “A lot of what we do is interest driven, especially for our older students. So I will teach them a really basic concept and then they’re able to take something that they’re interested or passionate about and apply it in a real world way.”

Ripperger’s dedication to students at South Lake Elementary School through STEM is recognized by many and has left a lasting impact on the school. To help with the program, Donors Choose gave Ripperger $10,000 on Good Morning America

“Our students are amazing here at South Lake and they love learing about space,” Ripperger told “Good Morning America.” “Not just — how to design a rocket or become an astronaut, but how to program that rocket or make that rocket lift off. They are so excited about space and I cannot wait — to see what they do in the future.”

Following the donation announcement Tuesday morning, Ripperger said “this is going to change a lot here, I am so excited and know our students will be too.”

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