YAKIMA, WA - First-grade teacher at Roosevelt Elementary, Julie Fry, was selected as a 2020 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching state finalist. Fry has been in the running for the national title since 2016.

"I just try to be the best I can be," said Fry.

The process has been overwhelming, especially during the pandemic, but has been so rewarding for herself and her students said, Fry.

"You have time and opportunity to reflect on your practice, and sometimes that's painful, but if you're open to change and improving your practice as a teacher, it's very rewarding," said Fry.

Fry said her recognition is humbling but over the years, she just focuses on bettering her teaching practice.

"I hope her recognition and acknowledgment will inspire others to become teachers of science, especially young girls," said Roosevelt Elementary principal, Nancy Smith, in an email.

Julie has been a great representation of the Yakima School District (YSD) said YSD Superintendent, Trevor Greene.

"We're so proud of the hard work that she's put forth and the example that she has set for us as educators, but also for our students in recognizing that they can have one of the best teachers around," said Greene.

Fry submitted this year's project focused on the exploration of salmon. She said she loved teaching her kids about a local wild animal.

Fry said she looked forward to one state finalist prize in particular; an evening at the Governor's mansion with the other state finalists. She said because of the pandemic, it will most likely be virtual or postponed this year.

Fry is one of three Washington State finalists. The national winner will be announced by the President of the United States within one year.