INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — WISH-TV is Indiana’s education station and this school year, News 8 is once again honoring outstanding teachers with the Golden Apple Award. It comes with a trophy, a $500 school supply shopping spree at Teachers’ Treasures and a surprise from Hanna Mordoh.
September’s winner is Mr. Isaac Adams in Indianapolis. He puts the tech in Arsenal Tech High School. He teaches engineering and physics and uses some really amazing technology to get students excited about STEM.
At Arsenal Tech High School there are hundreds of students, 76 acres, 13 buildings, and plenty of history, but only one Mr. Isaac Adams.
“Mr. Adams has an immense passion for Tech. Not only is he a graduate of Arsenal Tech, but he lives very much in the community and sees his role here not just as a teacher, but as a member of the Tech community. And he does so many things that embody that through in his classroom and beyond his classroom,” said assistant principal Patrick Kennison.
Adams connects science and engineering to the real world.
“It doesn’t stay theoretical and it allows him to push the kids further,” said Kennison. “It is not sitting and just hearing about what is possible, it is actually getting the opportunity to experience and do.”
Adams does scavenger hunts with students and created a 3D printing lab in his classroom. He runs the robotics club after school and created a YouTube page so students can better understand the tough subjects.
“He went above and beyond and created a whole YouTube series where he has explained all the content and skills you need to know. So they can watch it over and over again to get mastery in those areas, but also they have the English translation or the Spanish translations in the captions. So he just makes every opportunity possible for his students to succeed in his classroom,” said April Adams.
April is Isaac’s wife and is a teacher herself. She sees the work he puts in before, during, and after school.
“He is just a remarkable human being. His dedication to his community is, I think, the thing that is at the forefront. He is so dedicated to the near east side and to Tech. He grew up here, he went to Tech as a student, so he is committed to this community,” said April.
Adams is on the Arsenal Tech 5K Committee to help get the community involved in the school. Along with being a dad to two young girls, he oversees Tech Legion, which is a merit honor society for students.
Adams not only went to Arsenal Tech High School, but was inspired to become a teacher because of his own physics teacher. When that man retired, he called Adams personally and asked him to be his replacement at the school.
Along with STEM, Adams embraces creativity. Every year he leads the faculty and staff musical.
“He has been in the faculty and staff musical many times even as the Elf himself in ‘Elf,’” said April.
He’s a star on stage and among his peers. Adams won Arsenal Tech’s Teacher of the Year Award in the 2020-21 school year. The students also say Adams is a school favorite.
“Students vote with their feet. They want to be in his classes, which can only say great things about what is going on in his classes,” said Kennison.
“He really sparked my imagination and my love for engineering,” said 11th-grade student Steven Rieser. “His charisma – he just has this aura about him that makes him very gravitating.”
He challenges and inspires students while making school feel like home.
“His classroom has this atmosphere of you cannot be upset in there,” said 11th-grade student, Serenity Freeman. “He lets you know that if you need help, he is there. You are never going to have to struggle alone.”
When students face struggles in life, he always has a listening ear. Plus, they just think he’s cool.
“He has a full 3D-printed Mandalorian and that is pretty cool,” said 11th-grade student Goodness Makanjuola. “Mr. Adams is a fun teacher to be around.”
It was no surprise to his students, staff, and family that he won WISH-TV’s Golden Apple Award.
“I’m not surprised! He is so deserving. He is an incredible educator and an incredible community member. He deserves this award. He is such a hard worker and he is 100% here for the students and the members of this community and willing to do whatever it takes to make it better,” said April.
WISH-TV’s Hanna Mordoh went to surprise Adams in his classroom with a trophy, a nomination video, and a box of school supplies. Adams was shocked and humbled by the award.
“This is a huge surprise. But I am very thankful for the recognition. The last few years have been challenging to say the least. But it has also been an opportunity to envision what this program can be and what I can do to serve my students,” said Adams.
Tears filled his eyes as he watched the messages from his students, fellow staff and family.
“It is really about giving them the skills that I hope will help them, that no matter where their career takes them or their life goes,” said Adams. “So I am grateful for the recognition and it is validation that I am doing the right thing.”
He hopes to inspire teachers and students to keep pursuing their passions.
“It has been a hard couple of years for teachers in general. Just try to keep your head up. A lot of teachers are switching schools right now or leaving the profession. And I would just tell fellow teachers that grass is grass. The grass will turn green if you water it and take care of the place that you are,” said Adams. “To students, find your why. You have the ability to explore your passions if you don’t know what those are.”
Celebrating an engineer who is laying the future’s foundation in Indiana. Streamlining STEM into success. Taking technology to Tech. And building students into their best.
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.