This week's News 8 Golden Apple Award winner really sums up what it means to be a teacher. Darlene Cowles was nominated by a former student. And we got help with our surprise from the entire Red Team at Victor Junior High School.
With 32 years experience teaching English At Victor Junior High, Darlene Cowles is often on the "best teacher I ever had" list. That's certainly true for 9th Grader Shealynn Hilliard. "She is not only a great teacher, but she's a great friend to me. I spent every lunch with her. I'd stay after just cause I wanted to talk. And she helped me with more than my English career. And she's made High School so much easier. And I know what I want to do for college because of her."
Principal Carl Christensen wanted our surprise to be extra special. He snuck the entire Red Team into the hallway outside Mrs. Cowles' classroom to help.
Mr. Christensen says "I think as adults we all look back at our school years and we think of teachers who connected with us and made a difference in our lives. And for dozens of VCS grads that's Darlene Cowles. She has a real magical way of connecting with kids. I've worked with her for over 10 years and I've never, ever, known her to give up on a kid. She just finds a way to work with them"
"I love this job" says Darlene. "And I can't picture myself retiring. I'm at that age and when anybody asks me when are you gonna retire, what are you gonna do? I get heart palpitations. It's the only job I've ever wanted. I stole kids from the neighborhood when I was a child and made them play school. You teach to change lives, you teach to make that difference to create that spark so the world is a better place because you've helped someone be the best person they can be. I can't believe this honor."
Darlene Cowles is a News 8 Golden Apple Award winner. You can read Shealynn's letter nominating her below.
Dear Channel 8,
I would like to nominate Mrs. Darlene Cowles from the Victor Junior High School for the Golden Apple Award. She was one of the best teachers I have ever had. Mrs. Cowles pushed us to learn as much as we could and prepared us for the rest of our school years to come. She made class very interesting and fun.
But mostly I found Mrs. Cowles very approachable and easy to work with. I ate lunch with her in her room at least twice a week, not because I had to, but because I wanted to. Also, she conducted the most amazing and fun book clubs that I couldn't have enjoyed more! She opened my eyes to books I might never have chosen on my own. I truthfully think that Mrs.Cowles deserves The Golden Apple Award most of all! Thank you very much!
Shealynn Hilliard, Victor 9th Grader