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Fortville teacher inspires students with an outgoing personality

FORTVILLE, Ind. (WISH) – WISH-TV is proud to honor some of central Indiana’s most outstanding teachers with our Golden Apple Award.

The prize comes with a check for $500, a trophy, and a big surprise. January’s winner is a social studies teacher at Mt. Vernon High School, who is known for being extremely social.

(WISH Photo)

Mrs. Sarah Terrell is outgoing, energetic, and very talkative. However, she was almost speechless after WISH-TV surprised her with the Golden Apple Award.

“[She’s] someone who is always smiling. And she is always using hand motions and really getting into what she says, makes jokes and kind of laughs,” said 10th-grade student, Ava Lusby.

“She is so personable to everyone. She is always super energetic in class and she does a great job at teaching,” said 12th-grade student, Ashden Gentry.

“It is pretty fun because she likes to engage us in the class,” said 10th-grade student, Saniya Williams. “She is just really loud, to the point that it jolts us up.”

Terrell’s students said she is energetic, passionate, and loves her job. She will do whatever it takes to get her class motivated, even moving early in the morning. In fact, her co-workers call her the Tasmanian devil of teaching.

(Provided Photo/Angela Smith)

“Her love of her subject is infectious. So, part of the thing of sharing a wall with her is hearing her scream on a daily basis,” said Troy Guthrie. 

Guthrie teaches social studies in the classroom next to Terrell and said simply hearing her, is inspiring.

“When I hear her in a class, I am like I need to step it up today!” said Guthrie. “She is constantly writing things on the board, then she is so into it she just loses herself. So, just that enthusiasm.”

“Enthusiastic, loving, caring, committed. I mean she brings it. When she brings it, she brings it!” said Effie Miller, a history teacher at Mt. Vernon High School.

She helped bring Miller to the school. Fellow teachers want to work at Mt. Vernon High School so they can work with Terrell.

“All I can say is she loves this school and she loves her students and the subjects that she teaches. Like, she is beyond passionate for what she does and who she does it for,” said Miller.

Terrell works so hard for her students. In fact, Terrell is a mom of three young kids and drives almost an hour each way to work, because she wants to teach AP U.S. Government and European History at this school.

“She could teach closer to home. She could teach somewhere else, but she chooses here because this is where her heart is, this is home,” said Miller.

From dressing in renaissance costumes or having students create their own era costumes, Terrell is always making her subjects and students come alive.

(Provided Photo/Mt. Vernon High School)

“She is a very outgoing person. She tries to make sure that you are involved in everything. She is very passionate about whatever she teaches and she is also very friendly. She loves talking to people in the hallways and just to you, in general, to get to know you better,” said Lusby.

“I think she is a really good teacher and she likes to talk with students and make sure they are doing okay in classes,” said Williams.

Therefore, after more than 15 years of pouring her heart into this school, WISH-TV’s Hanna Mordoh went to surprise her. Terrell was shocked to see students, staff, and TV cameras during the surprise. She was almost speechless as she was given the trophy and a $500 check from the Golden Apple Award sponsor partner Bailey and Wood Mortgage Lender

“I know this is what I want to do and where I want to be. And this is the reason why, because I want to help change lives,” said Terrell as she fought back tears. “And I mean, I have amazing students, so they are already amazing people and I just love being able to be a part of their lives and help them learn more about government and history and its importance in their lives. It is just a blessing, I am lucky to be able to get to do this kind of job – where I feel a lot of value in what I do.”

Terrell said the greatest award is to see the impact she makes on her students.

“It definitely keeps all teachers going when they can see the joy in their student’s eyes that they are enjoying it too. So, that’s the biggest reward,” said Terrell.

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.