Rafters Announce 2015 Skyward Central Wisconsin Teachers of The Year

Mr. Bill Oswald Head Shot Mrs. Jessica Fischer Head Shot-Stevens Point

Pictured left to right: Mr. Bill Oswald (Wisconsin Rapids) and Mrs. Jessica Fischer (Stevens Point)

Mr. Bill Oswald, and Mrs. Jessica Fischer Nominated For 2nd Annual Award

Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.- The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters, in partnership with Skyward Inc., are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2015 Skyward Central Wisconsin Teacher of the Year award. New this year, the Rafters and Skyward chose to honor one teacher from both the Wisconsin Rapids and Stevens Point Area School Districts. Mr. Bill Oswald, an English Language Arts teacher at Wisconsin Rapids Area Middle School, and Mrs. Jessica Fischer, a Special Education teacher at Ben Franklin Jr. High School in Stevens Point were recently presented with certificates by Rafters’ general manager John Fanta commemorating their nominations.

“We received another overwhelming response from the students in the second year of this promotion,” said Rafters general manager John Fanta.  “After a thorough review of all essay submissions from the Wisconsin Rapids and Stevens Point Area Districts and consideration of the internal rating system put in place to aid in the selection, we are elated to be able to honor one teacher from each district next summer.  I would like to thank Skyward Inc. for their support of this exercise, students for their participation, and to all of the educators in our area that continue to impact the lives of our youth.”

The Rafters and Skyward Inc. will hold the 2nd annual Educator’s Appreciation Night at Witter Field during the 2015 season. As part of the evening, the Rafters and Skyward will honor Mr. Oswald and Mrs. Fischer with a double-sided bobblehead to be given away to fans. Mr. Oswald and Mrs. Fischer will also be invited to attend the Educator’s Appreciation Night and be recognized on the field prior to the Rafters game by throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. In addition, the recipients and their families will receive free tickets to attend the game, courtesy of Skyward Inc.

To facilitate the selection of the teacher, the Rafters held an essay contest for area students in grades K-12 during the months of October and November. All students were encouraged to nominate a teacher who they felt has made a positive impact on their life and write a 300 word essay on the reason as to why this teacher deserved to be recognized as the Skyward Central Wisconsin Teacher of the Year.

The Rafters received an overwhelming response to the essay contest, with over 425 submissions from students in the two school districts. Speaking even more to the outstanding quality of educators in the area, over 140 teachers received at least one submission nominating them for the honor. To help narrow down the submissions, an internal rating system was used that included the following areas: Number of nominations submitted on behalf of each teacher, years of service by the teacher to the district, essay substance regarding the teacher, principal recommendation, and the most unique characteristics described by students about the teacher.

Mr. Bill Oswald is in his eighth year at Wisconsin Rapids Area Middle School and works primarily with sixth grade students in the subject of English and Language Arts. On top of his teaching duties, Mr. Oswald has dedicated his time with both the baseball and basketball programs at Lincoln High School in Wisconsin Rapids.

Mrs. Jessica Fischer has been teaching for 10 years in the Stevens Point Area School District. She has been at Ben Franklin Junior High School for the past two years, following eight years at Bannach Elementary. At Ben Franklin, Mrs. Fischer provides support to special education students in grades 7-9 and also helps to team teach courses in math and science. Students were effusive in their praise of both teachers in the essays submitted.

All students that submitted an essay about one of the winning teachers will receive four (4) free tickets to the Educators Appreciation Night and autographed baseball from the 2015 Rafters team. The date of the Educator’s Appreciation Night presented by Skyward Inc., will be announced in the spring of 2015 along with a full listing of the 2015 promotional schedule.

MrOswaldClass  MrsFischerClass



The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 22nd season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 120 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (DET) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Allen Craig (STL) and Ben Zobrist (TB). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League Website. For more information, visit