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VIDEO: Waltham History Teacher Wins Educator Award, $25,000

Milken Family Foundation prize awarded during surprise assembly at the high school.

A history teacher was awarded a Milken Educator Award, including a $25,000 prize, during a surprise assembly at the high school Tuesday afternoon.

Derek Vandegrift, who teaches tenth and eleventh grade history, was the only teacher in the state to be selected this year by the Milken Family Foundation for one of its annual educator awards.

Vandegrift was awarded the prize by Jane Foley of the Milken Educator Awards, and state Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester. A dozen past recipients from around the state were also on hand, as were school and city officials.

After his name was called, Vandegrift  said he was inspired to become a teacher because one made a difference in his life when he was growing up. He also told his 8 a.m. history class that they'd still be having a quiz Wednesday morning.

"Be ready," he said.

The educator awards celebrate teachers at the elementary and secondary level, with independent committtees in each state recommending candidates for final selection by the foundation.

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