While the age-old idea of an apple for the teacher may be a bit timeworn, it has evolved in a manner of speaking, into an instrument of recognition for extraordinary teachers whose dedication inspired a nomination for the coveted award.
A teacher of more than 20 years, all of them spent at Holy Family School, Maureen Kelty will be honored May 17 at the Youngstown Country Club as a 2012 Golden Apple Teacher Award recipient.
Given annually to a total of six teachers, five elementary and one high school, in addition to one principal, the Golden Apple Award was established to honor outstanding individuals who devote their lives to teaching in Catholic schools.
Information provided by Kelty shared that it is through the generosity of the Donahue Family Foundation, which was established in Pittsburgh and extended to the Diocese of Youngstown, that recipients of the award receive a cash award, a certificate, a Golden Apple paperweight and a Golden Apple lapel pin.
Taking into consideration a nominee's professional development, commitment to students and school, leadership qualities, service to church and community, teaching skills and placement as a role model as a Catholic educator or administrator, a selection committee at the Office of Catholic Schools found Kelty worthy of the honor.
"I enjoy the unique idea of being back here at my alma mater," said Kelty, who teaches second grade language arts, social studies and religion at HFS, preparing her students for both reconciliation and first communion.
Having also taught fourth, sixth and eighth grade over the years, Kelty said of her current placement, "I think I've found my niche down here."
Also employed as a state-trained nurse's aide at Masternick Memorial Health Care Center in New Middletown, Kelty, sees herself simply a public service oriented person, saying of all the attention "It's been a very humbling experience."
Looking ahead, Kelty shared her hope to see the kids being kids a little longer, that they know they are important, and despite the never-ending increase in technology, that they not lose that human connection that love of learning. "I just want the best for them," she said.