POWELL, OH (WCMH) -- A local teacher is making history in more ways than one. He is the Ohio Teacher of the Year and now a top-four finalist for National Teacher of the Year.
"My daughter who is 4 1/2 she even tells random strangers that I'm the Ohio teacher of the year," says Jonathan Juravich.
Mr. Jay, as he's known to his students, has been chosen from thousands of teachers across the country and teaches at Liberty Tree Elementary in Powell. After seeing how he interacts with his students it's clear why he's a top 4 finalist for the National Teacher of the Year award.
"I hope that with what they saw in me is someone who's dedicated to what they do and is creative that just loves working with students and showing them the world through visual art," said Mr. Juravich.
His first-grade students say they love having Mr. Jay as a teacher.
"He makes it fun because he teaches us all about like art and how to paint and that we can paint together," said one student.
Teaching art for more than a decade, Mr. Jay knew at an early age it was his calling.
"Both my parents are artists and so I grew up in a very visual childhood and a very visual family and I think in high school it really clicked with me that I loved working with people," said Juravich
He says he has been living out his dream for the last 13 years.
"I absolutely love what I do every day I get up in the morning ready to go to work and excited to be with students and I call them my Liberty Tree family," said Juravich.
"This recognition has brought about some really wonderful and heartfelt moments from past students that are in college that have sent me cards saying how much an impact I had on them. Things they learned from my classroom really helped them to be the person they are today which is kind of really wonderful!" said Juravich. "The arts give us a chance to understand other cultures to have awareness of other people around us and people in our communities and to really make connections with one another. And I just love that opportunity that I'm getting to share these really important moments that are happening in my art room"
"My primary goal is to do and show my students that the small actions we take can have great impact on our world," Juravich said.