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A sneak peek at November’s Golden Apple Award winner

Winner dubbed ‘Mom’ of Hamilton Southeastern High School

FISHERS, Ind. (WISH) — WISH-TV celebrates extraordinary teachers in central Indiana with the WISH-TV Golden Apple Award. It comes with a trophy, a school supply shopping spree to Teachers’ Treasures, and a surprise visit from the News 8 team with the help of Hensley Legal Group.

  • November’s winner will be announced on WISH-TV Daybreak on Tuesday morning!

This month’s winner is known for her compassion for all students. In fact, her own son dubs her the “mom” of Hamilton Southeastern High School. She’s a science teacher there, who also does just about every other job you can think of in the district – including running a program to help students in need.

In education there’s both a science to teaching and something about teaching that science can’t explain.

“Some teachers are born and some teachers are made. She was definitely born for this,” Hamilton Southeastern High School Principal Reginald Simmons said.

Simmons is talking about this month’s winner and how she doesn’t just teach a subject at this school.

“She teaches students — not just science. She teaches her kids and that is what makes her really special, her ability to care for every single person.” Simmons said. “She really understands that as an educator we are serving our community — we are serving our kids and serving our families and she does it in such a selfless way. She doesn’t expect anything in return. I really think she fills her bucket by giving to others.”

Whether she teaches students in science or not, this educator stands out in the district, even among educators.

“She’s the best teacher in the world and I love to have her for science class,” sophomore Drew Benedetto said.

“Extremely hardworking. I don’t think I have ever really seen her take a day off. She is always like helping someone, no matter what,” Junior Isaac Williams said.

“She always joked around that all of her students are her kids, she protects everyone,” Evan Lawhead said. He’s a student at the high school and also this teacher’s son.

“She helps students so much with emotional support. If a student ever comes in and is having a hard time or something happens, she will take them in the lab and have a discussion with them.” Evan said. “She will take in anybody – she just cares for everybody in this school.”

That care is evident in how she treats students and the never-ending list of activities she does at this school. She helps with prom and student council, runs the euchre club, helps Riley Dance Marathon, and is the president of the wrestling program. She also helps with the school’s exceptional learners program, Best Buddies, is part of the Culture Committee, and sponsors several clubs and sports.

When asked how she does it all, Simmons said, “That’s a great question — and you know we have to slow her down sometimes. Because you know if there is a need, she wants to be the first one to try and fill it.”

Plus, she won “Teacher of the Year” last spring and was named “Mom of the Year” in Fishers in 2016.

“She genuinely cares about every single student’s wellbeing. Even students that she doesn’t know,” Katie Beegle said.

Beegle works with this teacher and says taking over — and now running — Roary’s Closet was a calling.

“Roary’s Closet is a closet in HSE attached to one of the hallways and in there, there are clothes of all different sizes. Kids clothes, adults’ clothes, anything. There are also a lot of personal hygiene products, like shampoo, conditioner, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and deodorant. Whatever a child might need here.”

Kids can submit what they need anonymously online. Then the items are put in a locker and the students can retrieve them without anyone knowing.

“She changes the lives of so many students and really changes the lives of her coworkers and co-teachers — myself included. She makes me want to be better every single day,” Beegle said.

That’s why Beegle sent WISH-TV a nomination for the Golden Apple Award.

You can see that emotional surprise and meet our November winner on Tuesday morning at 7:30 a.m. on Daybreak! You can livestream the show here.

Click here to watch other Golden Apple Award recipients.

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