12th Annual Crystal Apple Awards Celebrates Teachers from Dublin and Pleasanton
For the 12th year Dublin and Pleasanton high school students of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints led an event that connects teachers, students and the community in a celebration of education excellence. This year “building connections” was the impromptu theme as students and teachers agreed that the true value of a high school education is building connections during the critical transition from adolescence to adulthood.
What makes the Crystal Apple Awards unique is that students not only nominate and select the recognized teachers, but also run the evening celebration. During seminary, a religious study class held early each morning before school, students are given the opportunity to nominate a teacher that has not only made learning more meaningful, but also one who fosters character values they deem important to life. The nominations are then considered by a committee comprised of students who review all nominations and then choose the recipients for the year.
As in prior years, the event featured student-led presentations filled with photo essays and memories of each recognized teacher, along with emotional thank you’s from the Dublin High School, Amador Valley High School and Foothill High School teachers. The Crystal Apple Awards recognize teachers who take the extra time and care to look after each of their students and help them in their school career, while also giving guidance in living a good life.
The Crystal Apple Award recipients for 2015 are:
- Amador Valley High School (Pleasanton) – Brett Bower, Clif Simms and Rick Sira
- Dublin High School (Dublin) – Katina Lewis and Jeanne Morgan
- Foothill High School (Pleasanton) – Theresa Ochoa-Lionetti and Donna DeGiobbii
A consistent theme throughout the evening was the importance of teachers building connections with students, going beyond curriculum and coursework. Coaches connecting with student athletes, math teachers connecting with future scientists and teachers mentoring future leaders.
Among the praise shared by the student presenters:
- Ms. Ochoa-Lionetti’s “passion for teaching started at a very young age, when she used to line up her stuffed animals in front of her and take roll, and make up math problems for each of them to solve. From there, she idolized teachers and was greatly influenced by hers. She wanted to make a difference in her students’ lives like her teachers had for hers.”
- Ms. Lewis “treats all of her students like her own family. She emails us frequently showing us neat videos that relate to what we’re learning, or reminding us to study. She is very thorough and patient with us, and we know we can depend on her and trust her. She is witty and it amazes me how she has a different t-shirt every day that has an image or funny saying about what we’re learning!”
- “While playing football for Amador Valley, I learned some invaluable life lessons from Coach Sira. I recall a number of team meetings in which Coach Sira stressed the importance of being a team, rather than a compilation of individual talents. His motto ‘big team, little me’ has always stuck with me. Coached Sira constantly stressed accountability in sports and in our personal lives. He taught me that my actions, good or bad, directly affect the team, school, and community that I represent.”
This year’s event also featured a speech by District 16 State Assemblywoman Catherine Baker who has children currently attending schools in the Dublin Unified School District. She was moved and inspired by the passion of the students for their teachers, and for education.
The full house in attendance for this year’s event means there will likely be many teachers in the years ahead who will celebrate a Crystal Apple Award.
Past Crystal Apple Award recipients:
Amador Valley High School
Dublin High School
Foothill High School
|2004||Mr. Neil Bellow, Mr. Matt Campbell||Ms. Kim Penske, Mr. Ron Rubio||Mr. Dustin Collins. Mr. Robert Loew|
|2005||Ms. Linda Newman, Mr. Peter Robbins||Ms. Veronica Alvarez, Ms. Sara Hollison||Mr. Ed Cloyd, Ms. Nina Rees|
|2006||Mr. Clark Fuller, Mr. Darren Pagtakhan||Ms. Kim Bauman, Mr. Jeff Taylor||Mr. Kurt Richey, Mr. Scott Sears|
|2007||Mr. Chris Murphy, Mr. Colin Wenstrand||Mr. Tim Sbranti, Mrs. Lenni Velez||Mrs. Mary Crawbuck, Mr. Howard Gilliland|
|2008||Mr. Mark Aubel, Ms. Pattie Peters||Ms. Rebecca Briggs, Ms. Anna Kim||Ms. Barbara Correia, Mr. John Nix|
|Officer Floyd Gill (Alameda County Sheriff’s Office – DHS), Ms. Laurie Sargent (Valley High School)|
|2009||Mrs. Jill Battilega, Ms. Anne Johnson||Mr. Darren Tippit, Mr. Mark Wainwright||Mr. Scott Gorsuch, Ms. JoAnn Koobatian|
|Ms. Liz Paz-Rumore (Quarry Lane School)|
|2010||Ms. Delise Anderson, Ms. Mairi Wohlgemuth||Ms. Barbara Hall, Ms. Julianne Sundstrom||Mr. Greg Haubner, Mr. Zach Lipman|
|2011||Mr. Matt Kelley, Mr. Ryan Templeman||Ms. Kathleen MacDonald, Ms. Maria Vlahiotis||Mr. Jeremy Detamore, Mr. David Middleton|
|2012||Ms. Heather Pereira, Mr. Matt Thayer||Ms. Lauren Andrade, Ms. Rochelle Morris||Mr. Tom Calvert,
Ms. Shaun Martins
|Mr. Tom Pankey (Valley High School)|
|2013||Mr. Tom Hall,
Mr. Jon Grantham
|Ms. Lisa Carhart,
Ms. Kelly Beck
|Mr. Chris Jones,
Mr. Michael Leitz
|Ms. Laurie Sargent (Valley High School)|
|2014||Mrs. Jen Hoenshell, Mrs. Amber Carrion||Mr. John Parsons, Mr. Gregory Rodriguez||Mr. Joshua Hill, Mr. James Clark|
Presented by Dublin and Pleasanton high school students of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints