Each year, the Golden Apple Foundation thanks teachers who continually provide top notch education to their students.
Golden Apple Foundation Executive Director Kristina Reuber explains, "A lot of what these teachers do on a daily basis, nobody sees except maybe their students. And so they do absolutely heroic things on a daily basis and especially those who are really good at their jobs. And so it goes without notice often and without a lot of fan fare and so they very much deserve this. and it is my honor to be able to give them the recognition that they deserve."
The community nominated hundreds of teachers for this year's Golden Apple award, but only five could ultimately win. Sponsors surprise the teachers in their classrooms and present them with a golden apple.
Jilian Reints teaches art at both Belvidere and Belvidere North High School. Her love of teaching art to her students helped her win a the award. "A lot of times students feel like they shouldn't say a certain thing or they have to act a certain way or do something different because their friends or somebody else is doing something. But in my classroom we try to create a rapport where they can really say and do what they feel instead of what they think they're supposed to," says Reints.
The next winner, Michael Lantz, has 13 years under his belt as an educator. "My first year teaching I taught with someone I was very close to who had won the year before. And I thought that first year that it would be really cool and a goal of mine to one day have this," says Lantz.
Two English teachers won golden apple awards this year, Bethany Pitman teaches both 8th and 10 grade students. She says, "My kids are awesome. The kids here are phenomenal. We're so blessed with the kids we've been given at Rockford Lutheran and it's a team here. All the staff and faculty work together which is what helped teachers and kids to be able to be so successful."
"Every day I look forward to coming to work. Because I work with amazing students who inspire me to be a better person so teaching is a way for me to learn more about myself and how to help our future leaders," says Kathryn Linden, an East High School English teacher.
Michael Winebrenner, a Social Studies teacher at North Boone Middle School is the fifth and final Golden Apple winner. "I'm very humbled for one thing it's hard to talk about me as a special teacher. But what I do is I really give the students a lot of choice in what we do. I involve them in the lessons, I have them participate. We play a lot of review games, I allow them to tell stories. I try to relate what I'm teaching to them," says Winebrenner.
On April 26th, the five winners will be honored at the Golden Apple award banquet. They will each receive scholarships and resources to use in their classrooms. We will feature each teacher here on WREX leading up to that ceremony.
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