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It started out like a run-of-the-mill assembly Tuesday to recognize Lincoln High School's rising graduation rate, then social studies teacher Nathan Gibbs-Bowling got a big surprise.

He received the Milken Educator Award for the state of Washington.

Co-founder Michael Milken and Senator Patty Murray attended the ceremony.

The national recognition comes with an unrestricted $25,000 cash prize.

I have rigorous students, but I have a great staff I work with too, he said. I'm part of a team, so this sisn't about me... this is about the team.

Gibbs-Bowling is known as a demanding teacher. His students re-argue famous Supreme Court cases where they develop their critical thinking, literacy and writing skills.

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