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12th Annual Crystal Apple Awards Celebrates Teachers from Dublin and Pleasanton

May 4, 2015
Crystal Apple Award Winner

Crystal Apple Award Winner

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.

Crystal Apple Awards 2015

Crystal Apple Awards 2015

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

Dublin High School Teachers Lewis and Morgan

Dublin High School Teachers Lewis and Morgan

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

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