We couldn't find Tricia in her classroom but did sneak up on her and surprise her in the teacher lunchroom. At Klem Road South Miss VanAuken's passion for music is contagious. Principal Mary Ann Krog says "She loves music and I think it's just communicated to the kids as she's teaching. They end up loving music also."
What makes this Golden Apple surprise special is Miss VanAuken's nomination came from outside her school. The Music Education Department at Nazareth College wanted us to recognize her for mentoring students. Nazareth is Tricia's alma mater. She says she did her undergraduate and graduate work there. "I cant even put it into words I'm so overwhelmed and touched!"
Those who have spent time in class with her say Tricia's taught them to relate to students both as pupils and people. Michelle Leszczynski is a Nazareth Senior "She is definitely a kind and caring person and you can tell every time you come into her classroom that she cares about every student that she talks to every single day."
Nazareth student Jacqui Nichols has also spent time in Tricia's classroom. "She's a fabulous person. She's humorous, she's organized, she's funny she's kind. She's wonderful."
All teachers are busy. So why does Tricia VanAuken take the time to teach future music teachers? "I was one of them. At one point I needed to have somebody that was fabulous and needed somebody to point me in the right direction and put me in a place that would help me become me. So I just needed to kind of reciprocate and give back and do the same thing again."
Tricia VanAuken is a News 8 Golden Apple Award Winner. You can read the letter we received nominating her below.
Dear Channel 8,
Tricia VanAuken is an excellent music teacher. I am not Tricia's student, but I've become familiar with her stellar teaching as a colleague. As a supervisor of student teachers in music education at Nazareth College, I have had the privilege of observing Tricia's classes.
In addition to her full time teaching load at the elementary level, Tricia has taken student teachers from Nazareth for years and has provided these beginning teachers with careful guidance, encouragement, and support during their student teaching experience.
Not only is she an informed teacher with excellent technique, but she is also a caring person who shows interest in her students as creative individuals. As a teacher-educator, it is my job to make sure that our student teachers work with cooperating teachers who can serve as excellent models, showing pre-service teachers how to provide meaningful musical experiences for students of all ability levels.
I know when I send a student teacher to work with Tricia, she models excellence, mixed with enthusiasm, a sense of humor, and a love for children. I have observed Tricia teach elementary students also, and she is spectacular. She invites them to sing, play instruments, move, read, and actively listen to music.
It is a pleasure to nominate Tricia for the Golden Apple Award! She is inspires students to be life-long music makers!