Latest News

Published On: March 13th, 2019


Mrs. Rebecca Sturdy at Grant Elementary announced as 2019 winner

The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters, in partnership with Skyward Inc., are pleased to announce the recipient of the 2019 Skyward Central Wisconsin Teacher of the Year Award. Mrs. Rebecca Sturdy, a fifth-grade teacher at Grant Elementary School, was recently acknowledged of her award during class on Tuesday, February 26th.

Mrs. Sturdy has been teaching for 19 years in the Wisconsin Rapids Public School System. This is her first year at Grant Elementary after teaching at Vesper Elementary. She has taught from 1st to 6th, but she is currently teaching 5th grade. Mrs. Sturdy teaches an array of classes ranging from math to language arts. Students say she makes learning fun, yet still challenging through the use of project-based assignments. She is known for being more than just a great teacher; she tells great stories and brings her students huge cookies “as big as their face”.

Tim Bruns, principal at Grant Elementary said, “Mrs. Sturdy is an excellent teacher who cares deeply about her students.” Bruns added, “She is not afraid to self-reflect and question to make herself better. Mrs. Sturdy is always trying to get the most out of her students and she has hope for their future after they leave Grant.”

The Rafters and Skyward Inc. will hold the 6th annual Educator’s Appreciation Night at Witter Field on Tuesday, June 25th this summer. As part of the evening, the Rafters and Skyward will present Mrs. Sturdy with a bobblehead doll created in her likeness to commemorate the Teacher of the Year honor. The team will also enshrine one bobblehead of Mrs. Sturdy into the newly-minted Skyward Educator’s Wall of Fame at the ballpark that night and recognize her on the field prior to the game by throwing out a first pitch. In addition, Rebecca and her family will receive tickets to attend the game, courtesy of Skyward. The first fans through the gates that night will receive a Skyward Literature Rosco P. Rafter bobblehead.

To facilitate the selection of the teacher, the Rafters held an essay contest for students in grades K-12 in the area during the months of November and December. All students were encouraged to nominate a teacher who they felt has made a positive impact on their life and write an 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 over 260 submissions from students in the area districts. Speaking even more to the outstanding quality of educators in the area, 72 teachers received at least one submission nominating them. 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.

Any student who wrote an essay nominating the winning teacher will receive four tickets to Skyward Educator Appreciation Night, Rafters mock jersey, and an autographed baseball from the 2019 Rafters team.

Single game tickets for the 2019 season go on sale at 9:00am on Friday, April 19th. The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters will begin their season on the road against the Rockford Rivets on Tuesday, May 28th. The Home Opener is slated for Friday, May 31st against the Madison Mallards. The entire 2019 Rafters schedule is available at


The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 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, over 200 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (TOR).  All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Rafters as your favorite team.