2017 Golden Apple winners announced Thursday - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

2017 Golden Apple winners announced Thursday

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ROCKFORD (WREX) -

Five teachers from across Winnebago and Boone counties were honored with a Golden Apple Award Thursday.

This year the teachers came from five different schools in 4 different school districts. Here is a look at all of the teachers who were honored Thursday.

Jared Young, Belvidere North High School
Jared is in his fifth year teaching business to all levels of high school students. This was actually his second time being nominated for a Golden Apple. The person that nominated Jared calls him a true leader and that students flock to take his courses.

How did it feel to win a Golden Apple Award?
"Shock, it's pretty awesome. Very exciting. Lot of fun. Right now, I'm probably just a little bit speechless, but looking forward to what happens next and what it allows me to do."

Sarah Schaefer, Roosevelt Community Education Center
Sarah does it all when it comes to teaching science. Her science classes include environmental, earth, biology, and robotic integrated algebra-based physics. The Northern Illinois University graduate is in her fourth year of teaching at Roosevelt and also serves as the head robotics coach at the school. A colleague says Sarah is constantly trying to improve the educational experience for her students.

How did it feel to win a Golden Apple Award?
"Out of body experience, for sure. Definitely surreal. It's been a long journey, definitely. A journey that as a teacher you really get to self-reflect throughout it and get to see yourself from a different point of view which was really nice."

Julie Thomas, Harlem High School
Spanish teacher Julie Thomas has served Harlem High School for 10 years now. Julie has been a track and field coach for five years and is a former recipient of the WREX Teacher of the Week award. One of her colleagues called her instruction in the classroom dynamic, creative and fun.

How did it feel to win a Golden Apple Award?
"I feel very honored, very excited, very surprised. There were a lot of wonderful teachers that were nominated and especially those who made it to the Top 20. I'm honored to be part of that group, so to make the Top 5 was just an honor, a blessing and I'm just very grateful and thankful...and shocked."

Linda Julian, Willowbrook Middle School
Linda teaches choir, general music and speech at Willowbrook Middle School in South Beloit. Linda has been teaching at the school for 18 years and is another former WREX Teacher of the Week award recipient. She says she is always look for new ways to involve, encourage and challenge her students.

How did it feel to win a Golden Apple Award?
"Utter surprise. There were so many qualified people and there were so many good teachers out there. For me to be chosen for this was overwhelming."

Thomas Freesmeier, Harlem Middle School
Tom is a social studies teacher, and we here at WREX had the joy of presenting him his award live on our noon broadcast Thursday. This award is a long-time coming for Tom, as he is a 5-time Golden Apple nominee and was a finalist back in 2012. Tom says teaching is rewarding beyond his imagination.

How did it feel to win a Golden Apple Award?
"I put my heart and soul into my job. I do every year. I wanted to honor the students that nominated me, I wanted to honor the kids that I have, so I was really worked up, because when I put 110 percent into something, not that I need to be recognized, but I want it to be fruitful."

These five winners will be honored at the Excellence in Education banquet on Friday, April 28.  Congratulations to all of the winners, finalists and nominees!

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