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HSE teacher inspires ‘lifelong love of learning’

January Golden Apple winner announced

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.

January’s winner is Mrs. Audrey Lash from New Britton Elementary School. She’s a first grade teacher at Hamilton Southeastern Schools who helps her students and peers think in new ways. She also specializes in getting students to reach their highest potential.

  • Nominate a deserving teacher for next month’s Golden Apple Award here.

“She is an amazing teacher who loves students and always engages,” 8-year-old Mira Parab said.

8-year-old Henry Barger added, “She’s nice, and she always helps us when we need help.”

“Every single one of her students loves her, and we know she loves us as well,” 8-year-old Maddyn Sweeney said.

That love from Mrs. Lash lasts for years. Mira is in the third grade but still stops by her class every morning.

“She is my favorite teacher, as I mentioned,” Mira said. “She pushes us toward learning but not aggressively. She does it slowly and steadily.”

Maddyn is in the second grade and says Mrs. Lash is simply unforgettable.

“She is funny, she’s kind, and she helps a lot… and clumsy! When we were walking in line one time, she tripped, and well, we helped her up. But it was still funny,” Maddyn said.

Mrs. Lash uses creative thinking in the classroom and characters or games that help students learn through enjoyment.

“A lot of dressing up, and my favorite dress up was when she was Fancy Nancy when we did a Fancy Nancy boss battle,” Maddyn added.

(Provided photos: Mrs. Lash – Dressed as ‘Fancy Nancy” in class)

Henry is in the second grade and says creativity comes to life in her class.

“She encouraged us to be creative,” Henry explained. “Like a math game or a learning game. So then we would learn and also have fun.”

Fellow teachers say she even encourages them to think outside the box.

“She makes all of us here be better,” Jill Mayer, a second-grade teacher, said.

Mayer is Mrs. Lash’s counterpart in the school.

“She is dynamic, she is collaborative, and she is always willing to share. But I think the best quality about her is that she is humble. She will be the first to give her credit back to her students and the people who work around her – when in actuality, she just makes us better,” Mayer explained.

Mrs. Lash’s specialty is in extending high-level learning to students. She’s a mom of two and understands that different kids learn differently.

She’s also the high-ability coordinator at New Britton Elementary School, meaning she helps teachers across her school learn to lift these students.

“When you walk into her classroom, and you see her interactions with kids, you start to understand that she is like magic. They are transformed. They are watching her. They are waiting to see what she is going to do next, and that is what you want in a teacher,” said Lori Mankin.

Mankin is the principal of New Britton Elementary School. She says Mrs. Lash is so skilled that she was the school’s and the district’s elementary Teacher of the Year in 2022.

Alysia Prunier said, “She is setting these kids up to have a lifelong love of learning, and I couldn’t ask for anything more than that as a parent.”

(WISH-TV Photo)

Prunier’s son is in first grade. She wanted to say “thank you” and sent News 8 a nomination for the WISH-TV Golden Apple Award.

“She is such an extraordinary teacher, the way she sparks curiosity and joy in my own son and all of the kids. She is extraordinary. She just goes the extra mile, and I wanted to make sure she was recognized for that,” Prunier explained.

So Hanna Mordoh and the News 8 team went to surprise Mrs Lash in her classroom.

“I’m just so thankful, and so, I’m just so appreciative,” Mrs. Lash said. “I’m just astonished. I’m really, astonished. Thank you so much.”

Mrs. Lash says she has always wanted to be a teacher and was inspired by her own first grade teacher as well as her father, grandmother, and grandfather, who were all teachers in central Indiana.

“My key secret is getting to know them (students). And knowing what they like helps me know how to make my class better. Showing them that being creative is ok. Sometimes in this world, we think that teachers have to be in a box  – (instead) that thinking outside the box is ok, being clumsy is ok – as the girl said in the video – being funny and nerdy is ok. I just want them to show that all of those things are ok,” Mrs. Lash explained.

When asked about her reaction to a parent nominating her for the award, Mrs. Lash said, “It means the world to me because as a mom, you want your kids to thrive and be curious. So when parents see that, it just, that’s the best part of my job.”

To watch other Golden Apple Award recipients, click here.

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