Golden Apple

Cardinal Ritter art teacher creates diversity discussion club

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An art and design teacher at Cardinal Ritter High School is teaching students about more than just the color on a canvas; her students say she’s teaching them about color in the cultures around them.

Staff at Cardinal Ritter nominated Rhiannon Sanders for the WISH-TV Golden Apple Award, saying she helps them appreciate diversity with the creation of a new school club.

“There’s a lot of other things in the news that’s unsettling to students,” said Sherri Bryant, chemistry teacher at Cardinal Ritter. “So this was one teacher’s brainstorm to have a forum where the kids could express what they’re feeling.”

The club is called EVER: Every Voice Equally Respected.

“I don’t talk too much at school so I observe,” said Hannah May, 9th grader. “It’s really neat to see how different people can talk freely about everything.”

“We feel like our voice is heard,” said Rosaura Cazaras, 12th grader. “We see different points of view. It’s like in her art class where we see things from different angles.”

Bryant explains the students gather during a free period in class and learn about each other’s cultures. The students say it’s Ms. Sanders who makes the class comfortable, judgement-free, and open.

“She is a great teacher. I can see that in her eyes,” said Waldo Tapia, 9th grade. “She’s kind and has an open mind.”

“It’s like talking to your best friend,” said Cazaras.

“I think when kids know you genuinely care, kids respond to that. And Ms. Sanders wrote the book on that,” said Bryant.

So our Golden Apple team planned an in-class surprise with sponsor Bailey and Wood to award Ms. Sanders with a golden trophy, $500, and a special nomination video from her biggest fans. Watch the full nomination video below.

After the surprise, Ms. Sanders explained why she cares so much about teaching students.

“I used to do other things where I made a lot more money but this is much more satisfying,” said Sanders, reflecting on starting the EVER Club. “I think once you start the conversation, it’s not as hard as you think it will be. Making sure that students have a voice especially with all the things going on in the world right now.”

Ms. Sanders also celebrates her diverse heritage through art. To view her art featured in this story, visit her website.

To nominate a deserving teacher for the Golden Apple Award, visit this link and tell us a story about the teacher.

To watch previous Golden Apple Award winners, visit this link.