WATERLOO -- A local teacher was honoured with a teaching award from the prime minister last week.

With his arms waving around and a commanding and excited voice, it was easy to tell Steven Bryson is passionate about teaching high school students.

In class, Bryson is completely focused on engaging with this students.

Outside of class, Bryson shared that his favourite part about teaching is watching students grasp concepts.

“In general it’s that ah-hah moment,” described Bryson, a teacher with the Waterloo Catholic School Board.

Bryson has become well known for his STEM work and teaches science, technology, engineering and math.

“I want to share some of the great things that are happening around the world with some of my students,” said Bryson.

Over the years, Bryson has connected his classes to live broadcast conversations with Canadian Space Agency astronauts from space.

He has also brought in large tech companies to help run coding workshops for students.

When the pandemic hit, Bryson turned the annual Innovation Week at St. Mary’s Secondary into a virtual event.

“And then we could still connect students with people in the community, stem leaders, technology, innovation etcetera from the K-W region,” said Bryson.

“And in fact, we could extend our reach even more.”

Bryson taught at St. Mary’s High School in Kitchener for 12 years.

This fall he started teaching at St. David Secondary School in Waterloo.

Students from Bryson’s first quadmester term quickly noticed they were also learning important life lessons in his classes.

“He made a conscious effort in getting to know each and every one of his students and how they learn,” said Addison Collins, a Grade 10 student.

“He prioritized how we learned. Not just what we learned, ” added Alexis Ashikwe, also a Grade 10 student at St. David. “He showed us how we should study, study techniques.”

WCDSB’s Director of Education, Loretta Notten, believes Bryson’s personal connection with students and his teaching practices have earned him a nod from Canada’s top elected official.

Last week, Bryson was the recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for teaching excellence in STEM.

“His school communities – St. Mary’s and St. David – and all of Waterloo Catholic are just enormously proud of him,” said Notten.