• Fri. Aug 5th, 2022

Excellent educators, support staff honored – Sterling Journal-Advocate

ByJulie J. Helfer

Apr 30, 2022

Just ahead of Teacher Appreciation Week, May 2-6, eleven educators and support staff were honored Friday at the sixth annual Crystal Apple Awards presented by Korf, Northeastern Junior College, Journal-Advocate and South Platte Sentinel.

Held at the NJC, Friday’s awards dinner honored staff from Logan County’s four school districts — RE-1 Valley, Merino, Fleming and Peetz — as well as the NJC.

The ceremony began with a welcome and invocation by the newspaper staff, followed by a few brief remarks from emcee Mike White, president of the NJC.

“It’s a pleasure to be here and recognize our elite educators from across the region,” said White.

He called educators the “future” of their communities.

“I believe tonight we really set the course for our communities based on the students that you all produce. It’s a huge responsibility and I think you’ll hear from all of these teachers who are recognized, that they’re handling that responsibility very well,” White said.

He went on to talk about the emails he often receives from higher education commissions and organizations, mostly looking for money, but also sharing thoughts on education. They talk about e-learning, blended learning, experiential learning in classrooms, etc.

“Every one of these ideas that comes to me is a constant and they are the teachers. None of these ideas work without teacher instruction and even those pure online courses, the ones that are worthwhile, had a teacher involved in that process,” White said.

Like most, he still remembers the names of some of his most influential teachers and what he finds most remarkable is that now that he meets these teachers, they remember him.

“I don’t think I was that notorious, I think it’s just a quality that teachers have, they get to know their students, out of the hundreds they’ve taught. It’s absolutely remarkable,” White said. “There are very few professions in my mind with that kind of impact and that’s why it’s so important for us to take the time tonight to recognize the leaders of our profession here in our community.”

Following his remarks, White and superintendents and a superintendent from each of the districts recognized the winners from their schools. In addition to the prize, the winners also received a special gift from The Grill at River City.

The 2022 Crystal Apple recipients are:

  • Dr. Dante Penington – Northeastern Junior College
  • Stacey Nelson – Sterling Middle School
  • Windy Fickes–Campbell Elementary
  • Deb Vedsted – Ayres Primary School
  • Jackie Schneider – Caliche Jr./Sr. High school
  • Dave Mills – Caliche Elementary School
  • Tricia Etl – Flemish Schools
  • John “Buck” Barber – Merino Jr./Sr. High school
  • Lacey Hastings – Merino Elementary School
  • Jacqui Walters – Peetz Jr./Sr. High school
  • Beverly Davis – Peetz Elementary School

Features of the 2022 winners were included in a special supplement to the April 30 Journal-Advocate and May 4 South Platte Sentinel. Stories about all the winners can also be found on our website.

Sponsors for this year’s event included: Korf, NJC, Bank of Colorado, Chamberlains, Fleming School District and Sterling Federal Credit Union.