Caloosa Belle

Aguiar Golden Apple teacher

Student Kayla Manso, left, is pictured with Ms. Aguiar and Superintendent of Hendry County Schools Paul Puletti. (Submitted photo)

Lucia Aguiar has been named Hendry County School District’s Golden Apple Teacher for 2016. The LaBelle High School chemistry and AP chemistry teacher has been in education for three years, all of it at LaBelle High School. She is a Florida Gulf Coast University graduate, lead teacher, is on the literacy committee and SAC welcoming committee.

A former cardiovascular nurse, Ms. Aguiar said she found she enjoyed teaching more than nursing and decided to go back to school for degree in education. She loved teaching and science, so just sort of “fell into it.”

Although she enjoys the students, she said she does not enjoy grading. To her, receiving this award means she is “doing a good job” for her students and is succeeding in her goal. For young people thinking of become teachers, she would advise that they love kids and have a lot of patience. In fact, in opting to become a teacher, Ms. Aguiar went to a lower paying position. That doesn’t trouble her, though. The money isn’t important, she points out, “I have to be happy.”

Ms. Aguiar’s most memorable accomplishment in teaching came when she was demonstrating a chemical reaction, attempting to make the pumpkin explode into a jack-o-lantern. In spite of the experiment’s failure, the lesson was still a success because it taught the students that failure is not to be feared, but used as a way to grow.

Ms. Aguiar’s favorite quote: “So often you find that the students you’re trying to inspire are the ones that end up inspiring you.” Sean Junkins

Ms. Aguiar said she chose Kayla Manso to attend the banquet because the student knew her in school and out, giving her a better overall understanding of her as a teacher and person.

Tom Conner was honored with the Hendry County School District Heritage Award at the Golden Apple award dinner. Mr. Conner started his employment in Clewiston in August of 1970 and retired in 2008. He served several terms as Superintendent. He later served as Executive Director Heartland Educational Consortium. The Heritage Award is presented to retired School Board employees who contributed immeasurably to the school system. Deputy Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Gordon Swaggerty, right, is presenting the award.