Make your home page

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — May’s Golden Apple Award winner is a hero inside and outside the classroom.

Miss Kourtney Liggett, an Army veteran from Speedway, uses Marvel movies to help motivate her fifth grade students in Wayne Township.

Students at Chapelwood Elementary School say Liggett’s motto is “be the model.” With that phrase, she helps students lead the way, every day.

WISH-TV is Indiana’s education station, and every month, News 8 honors outstanding teachers with the Golden Apple Award. The Golden Apple Award comes with a trophy, a $500 school supply shopping spree at Teachers’ Treasures, and a special video featuring students and staff.

Miss Kourtney Liggett – WISH-TV photo

At Chapelwood Elementary School, there are many marvelous educators and plenty of characters in class. But, one superhero teacher is the marvel of them all.

“Miss Liggett – she is a character who likes Marvel a lot. She likes superheroes and she is really nice to us,” 11-year-old Mario Martin said. 

Martin, Lewis Fuller, and Helen Fatokun are all fifth grade students in Liggett’s reading and writing class. 

“She has superheroes – like Black Panther, Iron Man, Captain America – like almost all the superheroes in her classroom,” Martin said. 

“She is really into the Marvel Universe, she is a really cool teacher. She appreciates our accomplishments and we get prizes,” Fuller said.

“Every single Friday, if we get all five’s, in the classroom, we have something called a ‘Friday treat.’ Sometimes, we get to pick brownies. Anything we want and she will buy it, ” Fatokun said.

Students say Liggett is as legendary as she is generous. From Friday treats to red carpet writing treatment, these kids get the marvelous superhero experience.

“I walked in the classroom I was like, ‘whoa, Miss Ligget, this is so cute and cool at the same time,'” Fatokun said.

She always makes sure her fifth grade students know they’re what’s most important. Therefore, she does whatever it takes – even YouTube dances and lobster costumes, to get students excited about reading and writing.

“One time we were doing this book about a substitute teacher. She dressed up for spirit week, she loves spirit week, so she dressed up as the evil character,” Martin said.

You can see Liggett’s spirit in every student, and the lessons they’re learning.

“She always says, ‘be the model – be the leader, don’t be a follower,'” Fuller said.

There’s no doubt, she’s a model for all of us. After six years of serving in the Army, this veteran is new to teaching. This is only her second year teaching and first time teaching fifth grade.

“The skills she used in the military – helped bring that into the classroom,”  fellow fifth grade teacher, Connor O’Day, said.  “She really makes the individual student feel like they matter and their work and voice matters.”

“It was very obvious she was going to excel as a teacher,” second grade teacher at Chapelwood Elementary, Rachael Stewart, said. “She goes above and beyond and teaches the whole child. Those kids who have those walls up, she gets those walls down by building relationships with them.”

Now after 2 years of teaching, fellow staff say Liggett is already a veteran educator.

“At Chapelwood our motto is, ‘every child, every day – achieving success in every way,’ and she fully embodies that a nd teaches to the whole child – social, emotional and academic base,” Angela Brown, the assistant principle at Chapelwood, said.

That’s why she nominated Liggett for the Golden Apple Award.

“I was just so happy because it is such a deserving honor for her and I am so glad she is getting the recognition she deserves,” Brown said.

Unlike the Marvel Universe, recognizing a hero like this doesn’t happen nearly enough. That’s why the News 8 team went to surprise her.

Liggett was surprised and emotional as the WISH-TV team showed her the video from students and staff.

“I am just blown away, it is a lot of emotions for me because I put everything into what I do, and I mean they are my whole world. I love them to death. It means so much,” Liggett said. “My past of being in the army, they embrace that. They use the models that I was instilled with, and now it’s the same ones they are using in their own lives. It is like passing the torch.”

She hopes her life of service helps encourage other people to give back to their own communities. 

“My whole life I have been a public servant, and I feel like putting back into the community what they put into me is very important. I wholeheartedly believe, if you want your neighborhood or community to be a better place, that you need to take part in it and lead the way. Be the model, because they are our future,” Liggett said.

And what better model than a teacher? They always save the day.

To watch other Golden Apple Award recipients, click this link.

To nominate a deserving teacher for next month’s Golden Apple Award, submit a detailed nomination here.

WISH-TV plans to celebrate all 9 teachers from the 2022-2023 school year at 6:30 p.m. on June 14th during the Golden Apple Award Special. During the half-hour special, we will revisit each winning teacher’s story and in the end, a Grand Finale Winner will be crowned.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Central Indiana has met its goal to recruit 500 mentors by the Indy 500, but the race is on to recruit even more “Bigs” by May 28.

The “500 Bigs by the Indy 500” initiative is a partnership with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Since the campaign started in March, at least 500 new Bigs have volunteered to help children in Indiana. However, the organization says around 1,000 young people could still use the help of a Big Brother or Big Sister. 

According to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana, the organization serves more than 1,280 youth annually ages eight to 18 in Hamilton, Johnson, and Marion Counties. They partner with parents/caregivers, volunteers, schools, and donors in the community to “defend, ignite, and empower the potential of every child we serve.” 

The organization says its mission is to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. “Our vision is that all youth achieve their full potential.”

Learn how you can support the “500 Bigs by the Indy 500” campaign to help youth in need by visiting

The Pagoda at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is adorned with signage promoting “500 Bigs by the Indy 500”. (WISH Photo/Hanna Mordoh)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — It is the last week for the 62nd annual Indianapolis Decorators’ Show House & Gardens. This year the event is raising money to help mental health facilities at Eskenazi.

The Show House is hosted by the St. Margaret’s Hospital Guild, with help from dozens of local artists and designers. This year’s featured residence to be toured is the ‘Failey House.’ It is located at 57 E. 57th Street and will be open through Mother’s Day. 

This year’s home is named ‘The Failey House,’ as the Failey family owned the home for 82 years. A lovely green arbor over the front door welcomes all who pass under it and tour the house. Interior Designers and Landscapers have transformed the elegant residence in the historic Meridian-Kessler neighborhood.

This event runs until May 14 with proceeds benefiting the John & Kathy Ackerman Mental Health Professional Development Center at Sandra Eskenazi Mental Health Center. Touring the historic house will help St. Margaret’s Hospital Guild with its goal of raising $1 million dollars for the Eskenazi Health Behavioral Health Academy.

According to Eskenazi Health, The John & Kathy Ackerman Mental Health Professional Development Center at Sandra Eskenazi Mental Health Center aims to build a comprehensive workforce development plan that encompasses all disciplines of mental health care, offering professional experience and support in order to create a talent pipeline from which Eskenazi Health can hire and continue to invest in employees’ growth and development while increasing the number of mental health providers in the community.

Tickets can be ordered online, here. They are $30 for adults and $15 for children 5-12 years old.


Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Saturday: 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m.

Sunday, May 14, Mother’s Day: 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A milestone moment for a local hospital system is outshined by the heartwarming story that made it happen.

Ascension St. Vincent performed its 800th kidney transplant this spring after a local woman donated her kidney to a former high school classmate.

Tiffanie Stall finds comfort in a sense of company, as she walks into the Kidney Center at Ascension St. Vincent. She’s greeted with kindness in person and by symbols of fellow living donors along the walls.

“These are glass knobs that the living donors get to make and I was the 156th living donor,” Stall said. “It is kind of a relief to know that these many people have been through the same thing I have.”

Her piece of art featuring the Donate Life logo will be added soon. However, she says saving a life this way is something she never expected to do.

“Was it easy? No. Was it worth it? 100%,” Stall said.

This all started with Adrian Butler. He’s a father and a private person who suffered from polycystic kidney disease since his 20s and ended up with kidney failure. In desperation, his wife posted on Facebook in October of 2022.

“She had just posted that Adrian was in need of a kidney. And I hadn’t seen or talked to Adrian in a couple of years — at least,” Stall said.

The two went to Warren Central High School in Indianapolis together. Back then, Butler was friends with Stall’s brother. They weren’t strangers, but it had been years since they even spoke. Still, Stall decided to see if she was a match.

“I just prayed, ‘If this isn’t in God’s will, there will be a sign.’ Then, every step of the way, it kind of just answered a prayer, that this was supposed to happen,” Stall said.

Tiffanie & Adrian at Ascension St. Vincent. (Provided Photo/Ascension St. Vincent)

To donate, Stall had to meet with staff and undergo some simple blood and urine tests, along with various scans. She also had to have a matching blood type or type O blood and some minor antigens that match.

“She called me and she said, ‘You are a match,’ which is crazy,” Stall said. “I cried.”

It was a huge surprise and relief to Butler. While he did not want to speak on camera, he did want his story told in order to promote living donations. 

The surgery happened in March.

“We named the kidney Lefty, so they took my left kidney,” Stall said.

“Lefty” saved Butler’s life, and after one night in the hospital, Stall was ready to go home.

“They take an entire organ you don’t even realize you lose. It is kind of crazy — you go through that whole process and feel completely fine,” Stall said.

Now, her mission is to spread the message of living donations.

“My road takes me more as an advocate of living donation. ‘Hey it’s possible,’ and it’s definitely doable,” Stall said.

Dr. Abdul Moiz is the medical director of the Kidney Transplant Program at Ascension St. Vincent and says they always aim to strive for living donations

“We need to spread the word about living donation. In America, there are about 120,000 patients waiting for a kidney transplant, and unfortunately, we only do about 15,000 transplants a year. So there is a shortage of kidneys. Living donations are something that can bridge this gap,” Dr. Moiz said.

Moiz went on to say that living donations offer the best chance of survival for the kidney and the patient. There are also donor swap options; if people are not a match for the person they know, they can still help someone else and swap with another donor to help their preferred patient.

As for donors?

“You can expect a normal lifestyle and lifespan,” Moiz said. “Basically, once your incision heals, you can go back to your normal lifestyle. You’re not expected to change anything, you can lead the same life you were living before the transplant. You can travel and live your life as you were. There is no change in your life after the transplant.”

Stall is proof. She now carries a keychain around that says “Share your Spare,” a message that she plans to share for the rest of her life.

To talk to a kidney transplant coordinator at Ascension St. Vincent, call 1-866-810-2449.

Ascenion St. Vincent’s Living donor program information:

“Our living donor program can give you more opportunity to find a match. If you have a family member or other individual who makes a good match, they may donate one of their kidneys. If your family member or other individual is not a match for you, don’t be discouraged—we offer a paired donor exchange program through the National Kidney Registry. Through the evaluation, transplant process and recovery, you and your donor will receive a personalized care plan.”

Ascension partners with the National Kidney Registry and UNOS to offer:

Visit the Ascension St. Vincent website to learn more about kidney transplants.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana voters will have their chance Tuesday to pick the candidates they want to see on the ballot in November’s general election.

Polls across Indiana opened at 6 a.m. and will close at 6 p.m. local time. Anyone in line by 6 p.m. will be allowed to cast a ballot.

Registered voters must have a valid government-issued photo ID in order to vote.

Early voting for the primary election ended Monday, and according to the Marion County Clerk, more than 12,650 cast an early ballot. That’s more than four times as many voters compared to 2019.

Despite an increase in voter turnout, election officials say that’s a fraction of registered voters.

Marion County Clerk Kate Sweeney Bell says she hopes more people turn out for Tuesday’s primary.

“Indianapolis mayor, city-county council, and town offices — that is an awesome responsibility, and if you think that only a small percentage of eligible voters are coming out to vote, your vote carries that much more weight — you matter, and your vote matters.”

Marion County resident Kevin Ellenberger understands the importance of voting in the primary.

“I think everybody who cares comes out and votes in the primary vs. just waiting until the election or not voting at all. That we can make a difference so I am hoping that is what we do.”

Like Ellenberger, voter Lauren Warfield knows that voting now will have a big impact on the city’s future.

“The reason I am voting is because, not only do these elections affect what happens in November, but a lot of the intricacies in what happens in our city happen today.”

How to cast your ballot

People who have not returned their vote-by-mail ballots can bring them to any voting location today.

Sixty of Indiana’s 92 counties are vote-center counties, meaning anyone registered to vote in one of those counties can vote at any polling place in the county. Vote center counties include Marion County and all of the surrounding counties except Hamilton County.

In Marion County, 186 voting locations will be open on Tuesday. Voters can go to any location, including Gainbridge Fieldhouse and Lucas Oil Stadium. — wherever is most convenient. That includes Gainbridge Fieldhouse and Lucas Oil Stadium.

One of the biggest ballot items for Indy-area voters is the $410 million Indianapolis Public Schools capital referendum.

To find a Marion County polling place, visit the Vote Indy website. For more information on voting in Marion County, visit

Voters outside of Marion County can check their voting status, find a voting location, and find out who’s on the ballot at

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — April’s Golden Apple Award winner is a Spanish teacher at Pike High School who also speaks the language of high school students. 

Students say Ms. Leiwanna (Wannie) Taylor connects with them through culture and care. While learning a new language can be hard, Ms. Taylor’s creative approach and passion for the subject make her una excelente profesora de español.

WISH-TV is Indiana’s education station, and every month, News 8 honors outstanding teachers with the Golden Apple Award. The Golden Apple Award comes with a trophy, a $500 school supply shopping spree at Teachers’ Treasures, and a special video featuring students and staff.

At Pike High School, the walls are filled with photos of outstanding teachers recognized for their accomplishments. And, in picture after picture, year after year, it’s proof that Ms. Wannie Taylor is truly an exceptional teacher.

“She is always there for everyone – honestly. Even if it is not school related and you are going through personal problems at home, she is always there to give you the advice you need and motives you to keep going,” sophomore Amy Alvarez said.

That’s why Alvarez reached out to WISH-TV and nominated Ms. Taylor for the Golden Apple Award.

“I nominated her because she is just wonderful and she deserves to be known,” Alvarez said. “I just felt like she deserved it — she just needs to be recognized because she has helped a lot of students and she is always so welcoming and she makes sure everyone is included. She never lets anyone feel left out.”

Many of Ms. Taylor’s students describe her as a friend, a mentor, or even a “school mom”. Plus, she thinks of her students as her own kids. Her classroom features a wall decorated with pictures of current and former students. And Ms. Taylor’s students think she is just as special.

“She is like my school best friend. I love her so much. She just deserves the world,” Elisha Gamble, a senior, said.

Gamble is not in Ms. Taylor’s Spanish class anymore but is one of several students who visit her classroom every day.

“Every day, I go see her,” Gamble said.

“A lot of kids like me, I will go just to talk to her about life… Like, ‘I am having problems with this and this,’ and she will give me advice. She will be that friend and give you good advice,” senior Mohammad Khaliq said.

These students say this connection with Ms. Taylor started during the coronavirus pandemic when Ms. Taylor made sure everyone was involved in every Zoom.

Students in a classroom at Pike High School. (WISH-TV photo)

“I had fallen asleep during Zoom,” Khaliq said. “And I was like, ‘Who is this calling me?’ and it was her, yelling through the screen on Zoom, telling me to wake up and get to class. When she did that, it was kind of funny, but it also showed me she really cares about me and wants me to be in class. And because of that she has motivated me a lot to do better in school.”

She also does that by having fun.

Ms. Taylor often incorporates games into education to help students process the language while having real-life experiences, immersing students in other cultures, and getting to know their culture along the way.

“We would teach her the TikTok dances and she would do them with us. And she just swears she is the best singer or dancer. She is a really silly, goofy person,” Gamble said.

From dance moves to cartwheels in the hallways, she brings joy to the entire school, including the teachers.

“She is truly a best friend,” Tameka Bryant said.

Bryant is a math teacher at Pike and also spends a lot of her time outside of school with Ms. Taylor.

“She is one of the funniest people I know. She is charismatic, she’s caring, she’s patient, she’s kind,” Bryant said. “She’s always adapting and always changing and thinking out of the box.”

Ms. Taylor is also inspiring staff along the way. Many fellow teachers consider her a mentor.

“Six years ago, I was Ms. Taylor’s student-teacher, and so she kind of took me under her wing, and as I like to say, she taught me everything that I know. She taught me how to form relationships with kids, how to make engaging lessons…she really just taught me everything that I know,” Josh Villafuerte, a fellow Spanish teacher, said.

Mave Davis also teaches Spanish at Pike. She says Ms. Taylor took her under her wing when she started.

“Usually, when a new teacher comes, she is always there to offer advice, there to help, there to listen,” Davis said.

Melissa Ziegler is a Spanish teacher and the department chair for world language at Pike High School. She often sits in on Ms. Taylor’s classes to learn from her methods of teaching Spanish.

“She is very much a mentor, and she has had a lot of student teachers, and she mentors new teachers a lot because her personality is just. She just loves helping people and she is really good at it,” Ziegler said. 

“She is definitely one of our best and brightest,” Pike High School Principal Troy Inman said.

During Ms. Taylor’s 20 years of teaching, Inman says, she’s always been among the best educators.

“We have a Top 30 banquet every year and she is always an honored educator. So the impact she makes on every level of student, whether it is a first-year Spanish student or a third-year, is tremendous. She is a master teacher. When you say that word, that is Ms. Taylor,” Inman said.

In fact, Ms. Taylor went to get her master’s degree in Spanish during the summer breaks to better help her students.

“She went and got a master’s in Spanish in Spain — which is unbelievable,” Inman said. “She paid for it herself and got a graduate degree there, which allows our students to get college credit.”

She has also taken courses in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Colombia.

Therefore, it is time for Ms. Taylor to get some credit too with the WISH-TV Golden Apple Award.

News 8’s Hanna Mordoh and the team wanted to say ¡Felicidades! in person and went to surprise Ms. Taylor in class.

She was instantly crying and a bit thrown off by the cameras.

Once Ms. Taylor found out a student, sophomore Amy Alvarez, nominated her for the award, she said, “That’s so sweet!”

While wiping away tears, Ms. Taylor went on to say, “These allergies are terrible.”

After watching the video messages from her students, Ms. Taylor said, “I am extremely touched because, you know, through the pandemic and after the pandemic, it has been tough. But the one thing I always still love is my little buddies, my students. And I am glad they know I care about them.”

Ms. Taylor and some of her students at Pike High School. (WISH-TV)

She went on to say, “It is important to make sure they know somebody cares about them. I try to say something to every last student every day. It is important to treat them like people.”

In the end, whatever language you speak, it’s the language of love — how you make people feel, that’s most important.

¡Felicidades, Ms. Taylor!

To watch other Golden Apple Award recipients, click this link.

To nominate a deserving teacher for next month’s Golden Apple Award, submit a detailed nomination here.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Tuesday is Tax Day for most people, but the IRS is pushing back the tax deadline for some people in Indiana because of last month’s tornado outbreak.

The IRS says storm victims in Indiana now have until July 31 to file and pay their taxes. This applies to people and businesses that were impacted by the tornadoes, severe storms, and straight-line winds that tore through the state on March 31.

“This includes 2022 individual income tax returns due on April 18, as well as various 2022 business returns normally due on April 18,” the IRS said. “This means that eligible taxpayers will have until July 31 to make 2022 contributions to their IRAs and health savings accounts.”

The deadline change comes several days after President Biden approved a major disaster declaration providing FEMA money to Hoosier storm victims.

The July 31 deadline only applies to people living in certain hard-hit Indiana counties:

The IRS says it automatically identifies taxpayers in the covered disaster areas and applies for the tax relief.

People who live or have a business outside these counties and were impacted the severe storms can call the IRS Disaster Hotline at 866-562-5227 and request tax relief.

For most other Americans, taxes are still due Tuesday.

According to the IRS, the most common mistakes on returns are missing or inaccurate social security numbers, misspelled names, and wrong wages and income numbers.

Thomas Godwin, an assistant professor of accounting at Purdue University, says now is a good time to start thinking about next year.

“Plan the year prior. Make sure you are collecting your receipts, collecting all your relevant information you will need to complete your tax return and keep it in a central place. Because the hardest thing — the thing that holds most people up at tax time — is they know they have something running around but they don’t have it organized,” Godwin said.

For people who need help filing their taxes or need an extension, there is some good news. The IRS is touting improved customer service, crediting the change to a boost in funding from Congress to revamp the agency.

On Monday, it said taxpayers who called the IRS had an average wait time of 4 minutes this tax season compared to 27 minutes last year. Plus , IRS employees answered 2 million more calls and served 100,000 more people in person than it had by this point in 2022.

If you need some help with your taxes or more information on tax relief for storm victims, this can be done for free using IRS Free File. If you want details about this and other electronic options, visit the IRS Extension website.

Find out more from the Indiana Department of Revenue.

More information from the IRS on storm victim relief

Affected taxpayers in a federally declared disaster area have the option of claiming disaster-related casualty losses on their federal income tax return for either the year in which the event occurred, or the prior year. See Publication 547 for details.

Individuals may deduct personal property losses that are not covered by insurance or other reimbursements. For details, see Form 4684, Casualties and Thefts and its instructions.

Affected taxpayers claiming the disaster loss on their return should put the Disaster Designation, “Indiana, severe storms, straight-line winds and tornadoes”, in bold letters at the top of the form. Be sure to include the FEMA disaster declaration number, FEMA-4704-DR, on any return. See Publication 547 for details.

The IRS will waive the usual fees and requests for copies of previously filed tax returns for affected taxpayers.

Taxpayers should put the assigned Disaster Designation, Indiana, severe storms, straight-line winds and tornadoes in bold letters at the top of Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return, or Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return, as appropriate, and submit it to the IRS.

Affected taxpayers who are contacted by the IRS on a collection or examination matter should explain how the disaster impacts them so that the IRS can provide appropriate consideration to their case. Taxpayers may download forms and publications from the official IRS website.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) — Indiana Conservation Officers are searching for two missing Indiana University students in the water at Lake Monroe, according to a release made by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources on Sunday.

Department of Natural Resources says 19-year-old Siddhant Shah, and 20-year-old Aryan Vaidya were boating on a pontoon with friends on Lake Monroe on Saturday when the group anchored to swim.

Officials say when both men did not resurface, friends tried to help but were not successful.

DNR says rescue units utilized side scan sonar and scuba divers to search the area, before suspending search operations on Saturday night, due to the darkness.

The search resumed on Sunday morning after the duo disappeared in the water on Saturday afternoon. 

Indiana University Student Services transported the rest of the group back to campus and is providing counseling services.

Department of Natural Resources says the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Bloomington Police Department, IU Police Department, Monroe County Dive Team, IU Dean of Students Office, Monroe Fire Protection District, and IU Health EMS are all assisting in the search.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — March’s Golden Apple Award winner gets kids out of the classroom with life-changing field trips and helps students “brew” a business to pay for those experiences.

WISH-TV is Indiana’s education station, and every month, News 8 honors outstanding teachers with the Golden Apple Award. The Golden Apple Award comes with a trophy, a $500 school supply shopping spree at Teachers’ Treasures, and a special video featuring students and staff.

The March 2023 winner is Mr. Dustin Homan. He is an educator at Purdue Polytechnic High School North in Indianapolis, where all teachers are called ‘coaches.’

Coach Homan started teaching in the middle of the pandemic to help kids. Now, his students say his coaching is changing lives.

At Purdue Polytechnic High School North, it’s not the buildings or the walls that make the school, it’s the students. And for a lot of those students, it’s Coach Homan.

“Dustin Homan is an outstanding teacher. Because of the ways he cares about his students,” Ethan Mackinnon said as he read the nomination letter he sent WISH-TV.

Mackinnon is a senior, a student of Coach Homan, and also serves as his Teacher’s Assistant. 

“He has shaped my life and changed my life because of his leadership skills,” Mackinnon said. “He really will go the extra mile just to make sure kids are learning well. That’s why I nominated him — he is truly one of the greatest teachers/coaches that I have really ever had the pleasure of experiencing a classroom with.”

Mackinnon says Homan has taught him about education and how to be a leader.

“He has a way of teaching that really makes kids want to learn. And I think that is probably the biggest thing — in my opinion — on what makes a great teacher is, do they give kids the desire to want to learn?”

Other students say that’s exactly what Homan does.

“He is very devoted and passionate about his job,” Cornelius Adeola, a senior, said.

“He makes you feel special because you are special to him. That’s how he feels about all of his students,” Jayden Barney, a junior, added.

“I really discovered, ‘Wow this guy is a great guy, he is really teaching us — really helping us,'” Jack Langlois, a junior, said. “It’s almost like he tricked us into learning, in a weird way.”

Homan’s tricks? Teaching world geography, government, and agriculture, by getting kids out of the classroom almost every week.

“He definitely takes it out of the classroom,” Adeola said. “With field trips and all that, he made himself pretty well-known.”

He often takes students to local farms, the statehouse, and to businesses in Indianapolis.

“He tries to get us engaged and involved,” Langlois explained. “I think he discovered a lot of us aren’t going to do well if we are told to just sit down, take notes, write things down. So, he tries to get us out there — like when we went to Washington D.C.”

In February, Homan took students to Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., immersing them in education, using real life.

“Him being able to show that to us and it being eye-opening was just so amazing,” Barney added.

Plus, the students paid for the trip with money from a Coffee Cart business Homan helped the kids build.

“We wouldn’t have done it if it weren’t for him. If he wasn’t trying to motivate us, to find something we are passionate about and get it done, we wouldn’t have done it,” Langlois said.

With Homan’s help, the students built the school’s Coffee Cart. They learned the chemistry behind the bean, brewed a PPHS Blend, and made the cart into a profitable business.

People can order the PPHS-branded coffee and pick it up at the high school. The coffee is also available for delivery, but only in Broad Ripple.

“They did everything. From physically building the coffee cart to creating the snacks, and creating the coffee. They even made their own brew that will forever be a part of Purdue Polytechnic High School North,” Dr. Keeanna Warren, the school’s associate executive director, told News 8’s Hanna Mordoh.

Warren, like Ethan Mackinnon, nominated Homan for the WISH-TV Golden Apple Award.

“He just has a light that shines and you see it the moment he walks into the room. He is positive, he is warm, he is kind,” Warren said.

Warren also hired Homan, not too long ago.

“Coach Homan actually came into education at the height of the pandemic. When a lot of educators were choosing to exit education, he came in, because he really understood the need for more high-quality educators and he really had the desire to have an incredible impact on the lives of children,” Warren said.

“He came at the time that he was needed the most, and at a time when educators are constantly leaving the classroom, he made the choice to be there for students. Every day, he comes in and puts 100% into everything he does.”

Before teaching, Homan worked for Purdue Extension with the 4-H Youth Program. He’s always had a place in his heart for helping kids — that’s also why he uses the real world so much in his teaching. The coffee cart business is a great example of that.

“He truly has that knack — if you will — a God-given talent,” Principal Richard Benberry said.

Benberry has been in education for a while and says people would never know this is Homan’s second career.

“Twenty-two years in education and I have been around numerous teachers. For somebody, this early, to have the knack for teaching and have that love and passion for this, is something that I think is truly a gift,” Benberry said.

Homan also gives his time before and after school. He helps coach cross country, makes time for every student, and is also the dad of three young boys.

“I think it just says how much he cares, and how much he cares about this future generation, that he is willing to make sacrifices for himself and his family to give us a better chance,” Jack Langlois said.

So, back to the Golden Apple Award.

“When I heard he won this award, I was thrilled, I was excited he would finally be recognized for the incredible educator he is and I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this award,” Dr. Warren said.

So, along with Homan’s wife and three kids, WISH-TV’s Hanna Mordoh surprised Homan at school with the trophy and a video from his students and fellow staff.

“This is just my passion. I mean, it is an honor to be at this school, to show up, and to be able to do these things. I don’t do it for this, but this is amazing, and thank you to WISH-TV for doing this for our teachers. They need this,” Homan said as he held back tears.

After watching the video messages from his students, Homan went on to say, “Growing up for me, education was my path to my dreams and achieving that. And I come to work every day because I don’t want any of these kids to experience any kind of barriers to that pathway to education.”

“I want them to see I am a person who has struggles and dreams just like they do. I want them to see I go home to a family and we have fun together. So, when I come to school, that is what I want this to feel like. To feel like a family.”

When asked if he wanted to share any lessons with others, Homan said, “I just want to say this to all the other teachers out there: I know it has been hard, and your students care about you, but just be there for them. Show up. Do what you say you are going to do. That’s all that matters.”

Coach Homan is proof that showing young people you care can brew passion and purpose and fill your cup along the way.

To watch other Golden Apple Award recipients, click this link.

To nominate a deserving teacher for next month’s Golden Apple Award, submit a detailed nomination here.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) — The Indiana University women’s basketball team’s historic season is done.

However, for the program, the momentum made this year in women’s sports is just the start. And it all starts with the head coach, Teri Moren.

“The word work has been really, truly, how we built this thing,” Moren said.

No one knows that more than Moren. Despite Monday’s devastating loss in the NCAA Tournament at Assembly Hall, the regular season success is proof that the hard work is paying off for the program.

“All of a sudden, now, there is something going on in Bloomington with Indiana women’s basketball,” Moren said.

The fan base is booming in Bloomington. Throughout the season, families, students, and fans of all kinds flocked to games at Assembly Hall. The players were making shots and making headlines.

“One of our goals was, when people talk about Indiana basketball, it wasn’t just going to be men’s basketball, right? We are going to talk about men’s basketball tradition — national championships — but there is also this terrific women’s basketball program at Indiana as well,” Moren said.

The IU women’s basketball team had 28 wins in the regular season, was crowned the Big Ten regular season champion, and was selected as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Receiving a No. 1 seed was one of many firsts in the program’s history accomplished this year.

When Moren was asked what it felt like to sell out Assembly Hall for the first time, she said, “For me, my experience has only been this line is for men’s basketball. When I drove up on that Sunday afternoon to play Purdue and that line was down the sidewalk — (it was) just one of those incredible moments where you are like wow, we are doing something really special here.”

For the first time ever, all 17,222 seats were filled with fans ready to see women play ball.

When asked, “What do you think that means for those young girls in those seats, watching the game?” Moren replied, “That anything is possible they want to be a part of.”

And Moren is proof. This year, she became the all-time winningest coach in IU women’s basketball history. Moren was also named the Big Ten Coach of the Year for the second time, having won it back in 2016 as well.

“That young girl was me growing up, right? Watching men’s basketball. So, now, you fast forward to what we have been able to accomplish – it’s like, oh wow,” Moren said.

Moren grew up just about 45 minutes away from Bloomington, in Seymour.

“We grew up Indiana fans and a typical Sunday morning or afternoon for us was to go to church, have dinner at grandmother’s house, and then turn on the TV. Martha the Mop Lady came out and got us excited about watching Indiana men’s basketball,” Moren recalled.

Back then, the women’s program wasn’t even talked about. Moren went on to play basketball at Purdue University and coached at other schools in the state before taking the top spot in Bloomington.

She was always rooted at IU with her family.

“They are all in, the Moren family is all in and we get, the highs are the highs and the lows are the lows,” Moren said. “My father is 88 years old and sits on the baseline of every game. And has plenty to say.”

Over the last 9 years, with her dad’s help, Moren has reshaped the women’s program and how Hoosiers think of Indiana basketball.

“We have gained a lot of fans because of what we have been able to do here,” Moren said. 

Moren, when asked if the change is going to be sustained, replied: “That’s the goal. but that is also the challenge. Because it is one thing to build it, as I said. But it is another thing to sustain it.

There’s still more work to be done — for both her team and the league.

“As a female coach, it is part of my responsibility always to tell our story, you know, in terms of trying to challenge those out there as to what other changes can we make,” Moren said.

In November, Moren spoke out after the team’s trip to the Las Vegas Invitational Tournament had the top-ranked Hoosiers playing in conditions a men’s team would never face, including a lack of on-site paramedics. 

At the time, Moren said it set back women’s basketball. The situation came not long after the NCAA was criticized for providing different — and unequal — playing and training facilities and equipment for men’s and women’s teams at the 2021 NCAA Tournament.

“At least we are talking about it, right?  And I think that has been the first big step,” Moren said.

The next big step? 

“Every year we sit down and we have the goal. The goal of winning the Big Ten —  the goal of winning a national championship and I am a firm believer that you have to talk about those things if you want them to happen,” Moren said.

While making shots and winning games matters, what’s most important to Moren is making sure the young women who play for her know they matter.

“You just hope you’re impacting them every single day, not convincing them, but making sure they realize they can do anything,” Moren said.

Moren is their example. She says that after almost a decade at IU, it feels surreal walking through the candy cane-striped hallway that connects their practice facility to Assembly Hall.

“I was just walking on the floor and it dawned on me that I am the head coach at Indiana,” Moren said as she stepped onto the court. 

Teri Moren, head coach of IU women’s basketball, in the candy cane-striped hallway. (WISH Photo/Hanna Mordoh)

While the team fell short in the NCAA Tournament, perhaps the players and their coach won something greater.

“(It’s) an opportunity for those young girls that are sitting up in those seats right now to have the dream of one day playing for Indiana…” Moren began.

“And they can,” News 8’s Hanna Mordoh suggested.

“They can,” Moren agreed.

Moren is proving that girls — and women– can fight for the Cream and Crimson, for the glory of old IU, and for their dreams.

“To be able to sit here at Indiana and be the head coach of a Big Ten team in the state that I grew up with, I mean dreams — no doubt — come true,” Moren said.

IU women’s basketball head coach Teri Moren (left) and News 8’s Hanna Mordoh on the court. (WISH Photo/Hanna Mordoh)