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Local 2007 Crystal Apple Award recipients, honorable mentions and principals (from left) Meline Akashian, Connie Cutler, Steve Schaufele, Chad Yates, ...

High school students name favorite teachers

Friday, May 11th, 2007
Issue 19, Volume 11.

The third annual Crystal Apple Awards, hosted by high school students and sponsored by the Temecula Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was held Sunday, April 29, at 7 p.m. Attended by more than 350 teachers, administrators, school board and city council members, students and parents, the event honored teachers from Temecula Valley High School (TVHS), Chaparral High School (CHS) and Great Oak High School (GOHS).

Each of the 59 teachers whose names were submitted for the award received a certificate with quotes from the nomination entries. Crystal Apple recipients were Chad Yates of GOHS, Nat Spence of CHS and Meline Akashian of TVHS. Honorable Mention recipients were Justin Girard and Richard Tucker of GOHS, Barbara Mueller and Rebecca Holdstein of CHS and Connie Cutler and Brian Kingman of TVHS.

While introducing her father, Brittany Spence recalled a recent conversation. "If you go into teaching," Spence told his daughter, "you have to learn to care in a way you may never be seen or thanked." As Spence accepted his award, he elaborated, "In teaching you will probably not get to see the impact of your work. Whoever nominated me, you have my humble and most sincere thank you. In that process, you have given me an early look I never expected to see."

While accepting her award, English teacher Akashian said one genre of movies she dislikes is "teacher" movies, where great actors teach one class with 15 to 20 students and knock the socks off the audience. Real teaching is not like that, she stated.

For Akashian, the joy is "when the lightbulb goes off… and I watch my kids begin to critically think." She joked that the award gave her the strength to watch Michelle Pfeiffer in "Dangerous Minds" over the weekend. "You don’t get thanked very often, which is not a big deal," she said. "This award will keep me going another 10 years!"

Fellow English instructor Yates likened teaching to "being a salesperson, selling products not everyone wants." He echoed the other awardees, saying it is difficult to know if what one is doing Advertisement
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in class is making a difference to students.

Yates said he "loves what he does" and thanked his students, saying he "can’t wait to get to school each day and see [their] smiling faces."

To be entered for such a unique student-nominated award was a happy surprise to Cutler, who will retire in June after 20 years at TVHS. One nomination letter noted that Cutler "brings many things into the class that are rather unconventional." Wrote another student, "She would ask us to question everything and then learn and grow from it."

CHS Honorable Mention recipient Mueller said, "You don’t know how much this means. It will be with me forever."

All Crystal Apple nominees were recognized at the awards reception. The teachers were nominated by high school students who attend religious education programs at the Temecula Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The programs are attended by 225 students in 13 classes.

"We asked students to nominate teachers who had helped them become a better person," event organizer Lanae Turley-Trejo said. "We asked [them] to write why they felt a teacher deserved the award and to name something specific the teacher had done to make a difference in their life and education."

2007 Crystal Apple Award Nominees

Chaparral High School

Dennis Amador, Stephanie Benjamin, Susan Braun, Candy Canizales, Bob Caster, Robert Clause, Tyson Cleveland, Ed Coyle, Janis Fuhr, Rebecca Holdstein, Nick Kardouche, Mark Koscielak, Thomas Leach, Miles Marquez, Kathy McFadden, Anne McNulty, Barbara Mueller, Tyson Newman, Kristin Olko, John Rentar, Tony Rossi, Tim Searl, Aaron Slojkowski, Nat Spence, Diana Stansel, Thea Titzer, Michelle Zides

Great Oak High School

Vicki Alban, Preston Beach, Jerry Burdick-Rutz, John Carnesecca, Kim Christopher, Michele Clabaugh, Dennis Cline, Tim Dignan, Robert Fitzpatrick, Justin Girard, Kurt Herbst, Carolyn Husband, January King, Rachel Merino-Ott, Chris Shore, Ingrid Taylor, Kurtis Tegman, Jim Thomas, Richard Tucker, Erica Williams, Chad Yates, Jenny Yates

Temecula Valley High School

Dean Aamodt, Meline Akashian, Charlie Cheek, Brenda Chiuminatta, Matt Craven, Connie Cutler, Derek d’Ablaing, CM Sgt. Chip Dodson, Pam Ford, Steve Garwood, Chris Hamil, Brian Kingman, Debbie Martin, Brian May, Dawn Murray-Sibby, Rico Thompson, Jeff Waugh



Comment Profile Imageteacher
Comment #1 | Friday, Jul 11, 2014 at 9:15 pm
Justin Girard got the boot from Great Oak for molesting a student. . . does he get to keep his award?

Article Comments are contributed by our readers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Fallbrook Village News staff. The name listed as the author for comments cannot be verified; Comment authors are not guaranteed to be who they claim they are.


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