NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — Ms. Kristina Trusty has wrangled – and loved – hundreds of kindergartners in her nearly 20 years of teaching, but she has also fed hundreds of students across the Noblesville school district.
She works at Hinkle Creek Elementary School and when her co-workers learned about the new WISH-TV Golden Apple Award, they submitted a nomination.
“She doesn’t look for recognition but she definitely deserves it,” said Audra Shock, an instructional assistant at Hinkle Creek. “She’s amazing.”
Ms. Trusty is a gateway teacher, explained school counselor Donna Brooks. She is the first point of contact for a kindergartner and often the first person to notice something wrong.
“Some kiddos were coming to school with emotions that just didn’t fit school. And being an astute teacher, she asked questions,” said Brooks. “Sometimes they came to school hungry.”
That’s when Ms. Trusty stepped in.
“Ms. Trusty saw firsthand that there were students who did not have enough food to eat over the weekend and she decided she was going to do something about that,” said Shock.
What started as slipping food into the backpacks of a few kids quickly ballooned into an independent not-for-profit called Fueled for School, now providing discrete weekend meals for approximately 500 students in Noblesville Schools.
“She is already filling the minds and the hearts and now she fills the tummies too,” said Shock, who serves as director of operations for Fueled for School.
Some of her former students have become volunteers with Fueled for School.
“The only payment she wants for that, is to see the smiling faces of the kids she’s feeding,” said Gerry Zink, now in 4th grade. “It’s hard to put into words to describe her because she’s so kind.”
Her fellow teachers say Ms. Trusty has made a difference for them, as they often ask her for advice in their own classrooms.
“Kristina is very thoughtful. She’s somebody who is always thinking of others,” said Kathleen Martin, who teaches first grade at Hinkle Creek. “She likes to see others shine and she does what she can to make sure that they do.”
“I don’t think that she sleeps. Ever,” said Sarah Zink, a resource teacher at Hinkle Creek. “I think her former students kind of turn into her own kids. She’s pretty amazing.”
“She’s a phenomenal teacher. She cares a lot about kids and she has a special place for kids that for some reason down the road have been disadvantaged,” said Jack Lawrence, principal. “She is a problem solver.”
Our Daybreak team surprised Kristina Trusty Wednesday in her classroom, cameras rolling, with the Golden Apple Award.
“I’ll be honest, that was the biggest surprise of my life,” laughed Kristina Trusty, after a TV crew, her principal, several co-workers, and her own four children marched into the classroom.
Golden Apple sponsor and mortgage lender Bailey & Wood provided a $500 check and a Golden Apple trophy, along with their sincere thanks to Ms. Trusty for her hard work in the community.
Then, we sat her down to watch her nomination video, available below.
“Thank you for this amazing honor,” said Ms. Trusty through tears. “I think in our lives we have very distinct memorable moments and this is a very distinct memorable moment.”
Her children and kindergarten class rushed towards her for a series of hugs and another round of what Ms. Trusty called, “the happiness dropping from my eyes.”
“To know that I’ve made an impact on someone’s life; it’s a great honor,” she said.
Mrs. Trusty will return to WISH-TV on June 4, 2020 for the Golden Apple Award finale, where all nine award recipients this school year will share advice to future teachers and where one will win a $1,000 grand prize.
To watch more stories about incredible local teachers, visit the Golden Apple homepage.
Ms. Trusty also honored her Granny as she accepted her award. Learn more about her inspiring influence from this clip from WISH-TV’s All IN.