The 2018 Golden Apple Recipients

The 2018 Golden Apple Recipients. (Caloosa Belle/Val White)

The 25th Annual Golden Apple Teacher Recognition Dinner honoring outstanding Hendry County public school teachers was held on Thursday, January 11 at the John Boy Auditorium in Clewiston. The Foundation for Hendry County Public School is a direct support, non profit organization with a mission to enhance the quality of education in Hendry County by increasing community involvement and rallying support for Hendry County public schools.

In 1993 the Foundation created the Golden Apple Teacher Recognition Program to recognize and award excellence in teaching.

Each year, one teacher who displays excellence in their field is selected as Golden Apple recipients from each Hendry County public school and the Hendry District Golden Apple Teacher is chosen from this group of distinguished educators and is recognized at the Recognition Dinner. The Hendry District Golden Apple Teacher is given the opportunity for further professional development with the Collegium for the Advancement f Teaching at the State Level, which is an Intense training that takes place during a week long seminar, providing teacher with the skills needed for long term success in teaching, leadership, and student achievement.

The Hendry District Golden Apple Teacher is selected by a panel of Golden Apple Selecting Committee which, this year, included Lucia Aguilar, Dr. Cecil Carter, Robin Jones, Haitham Kaki, and Dr. Dennis Veal.

This year’s Golden Apple Recipients were as follows:

From Central Elementary School, Maranda Berner.

From Clewiston High School, Mary Thomas.

From LaBelle High School, Diane Onorato.

From LaBelle Elementary School, Pam Cooper.

From LaBelle Middle School, Rudy Gallegos.

From Country Oaks Elementary School, Brenda Santiago Cali.

From Clewiston Middle School, Sean Holligan.

From Upthegrove Elementary School, Charlene Bowen.

From Westside Elementary School, Holley Sweet.

From Eastside Elementary School, Taylor Massey.

Those in attendance included the Hendry County School Board members Jon Basquin – Chairman, Dwayne Brown – Vice Chairman, Sally Berg, Stephanie Busin, Amanda Nelson, and Superintendent Paul Puletti.

Puletti introduced and gave special recognition by means of the Heritage Award to long time educator Joanne Patterson and closed with special remarks on the fact that according to new state reports, Hendry County is ranked 27th out of 67 counties and holds a graduation rate of 87 percent.

The Hendry District Golden Apple Teacher for the 2017-2018 school year is Taylor Massey.

The Hendry County School District would like to thank all of the hard work of everyone who has made the 2017-2018 school year a success.

Val can be reached at

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