Current and former students call this week's News 8 Golden Apple Award winner crazy. But after meeting him you realize he's "crazy smart" and kids love him. We surprise Social Studies Teacher Jim Carney at Martha Brown Middle School in Fairport.
Principal David Dunn says Mr. Carney is one of those teachers students don't forget. "Jim Carney is an awesome teacher. He's one of these teachers kids will remember for the rest of their lives. Kids come back and visit Mr. Carney, not only from High School but in adulthood."
8th graders Amanda Tulipano and Chelsea Radford had Mr. Carney last year. Chelsea's older brother Austin is home from college and helped with our surprise. He also had Mr. Carney.
When we walked into his classroom Mr. Carney yelled "I know you! Wait, this has got to be a mistake!" We assured him it was not a mistake.
Mr. Carney creates a bond with students. Chelsea says "He remembers things you like and he always finds something to talk about with you."
Amanda adds "He did make a special connection with every one of his students. He always had nicknames for us and he always had something to talk about."
Praise from a student is the ultimate compliment for Jim Carney. And after 23 years he still enjoys figuring out how to inspire them. "Because I think if all you do is talk at kids you can't accomplish anything. You have to make them want to care. You have to make them enjoy coming through the door everyday."
Jim Carney is a News 8 Golden Apple Award winner. You can read the letters we received from Chelsea and Amanda nominating Mr. Carney below.
Dear channel 8,
"Sit" and "packet" were the first words I heard every morning as I entered Social Studies class. With one look at Mr. Carney, you knew he was not your ordinary teacher. I noticed right away his small stature, shaved head and long beard. He reminded me of one of Santa's elves. I liked him right away.
When we arrived early to class, we would sit and talk. When he was ready to begin Mr. Carney would say in his classic tone, which was a mixture of amusement and frustration "Chelsea, are you still talking?" It was a humorous way for him to get me to be quiet and I appreciated that he made a joke instead of yelling.
Mr. Carney would occasionally refer to my friend and I as "tragedies" when we did not know a basic fact. The way he said it was so funny, yet it made me want to learn and try harder to impress him. I probably raised my hand a dozen times each class. I learned that if I studied the material, I would do well.
I also learned to be a more straight-forward person through Mr. Carney's honest, yet respectful ways. Even if he was telling a student something that they did not want to hear, he would look them in the eye and show he cared. He made a connection with every student. I know that I will never forget Mr. Carney and the impact he had on me.
Chelsea Radford, 8th Grader, Martha Brown Middle School
Dear channel 8,
I remember walking into Mr. Carney's class every morning a second before the clocked ticked hearing "sit, packet!" Mr. Carney was the best teacher I have ever had and he made a tremendous impact on my life. He always offered to stay after school with students even though he lives all the way out in Batavia.
He always made class worth attending. Mr. Carney had a special relationship with every single one of his students and as much as he kidded with me, I still loved his class. Of course I can't forget his humor. I think his humor is one of the best things about him. I remember the very day I thought Mississippi was only a river.
Mr. Carney taught me some amazing life lessons that I probably would have never learned if I didn't have him as a teacher. He taught me to always do my best, strive for better than pretty good, you have to study to do well, which for me never really happened, but he still believed in me and most importantly never gave up. I probably won't remember everything Mr. Carney taught me, but I'll always remember him, his characteristics, and the impact he had on me.
Amanda Tulipana, 8th Grader, Martha Brown Middle School