GOLDEN APPLE AWARD: Time to nominate teachers who inspire

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Meridian Community College President Tom Huebner, left, presents Tim Caldwell of West Lauderdale High School his Golden Apple Teacher of The Year trophy during a ceremony in May.

Teachers spend their professional hours helping their students achieve their goals – even beyond the classroom. The Golden Apple Award, back for an eighth year, provides an opportunity to show appreciation for that service.

Over its first seven years, the Golden Apple recognized 62 Teachers of the Month and seven Teachers of the Year.

West Lauderdale High School math teacher Tim Caldwell was named the Golden Apple Teacher of the Year 2018-19 during a banquet in May at the Tommy Dulaney Center at Meridian Community College.

When asked what advice he had for teachers, Caldwell said to come up with a set of three or four classroom rules that you can be satisfied with, enforce them every single day, and make them apply to every single person in that classroom. You work hard for them, you love them and they will return it to you tenfold.

The new academic year brings a fresh chance to nominate a teacher from East Mississippi and West Alabama for a Golden Apple Award, a program The Meridian Star Editor Dave Bohrer, said The Star looks forward to each month.

“We look forward to sharing news about the many good things being done in classrooms around East Mississippi and West Alabama and the appreciation students, parents and colleagues have for our teachers,” Bohrer said. “We’re grateful, with our partners in supporting education, we are able to celebrate teachers through the Golden Apple program.”

Meridian Family of Stations Vice President Jon Pollard said the Golden Apple Awards have become a staple in our community and a testament of the dedication and devotion our teachers give their students each and every year.

“Along with our Partners in Education, WMDN & WGBC television are truly honored with the opportunity to recognize those who go above and beyond and are proud to showcase their hard work and commitment,” Pollard said. “It’s just a small way for us to give back to those who deserve so much!”

Each teacher who wins a Golden Apple monthly award will receive a Teacher of the Month Certificate, $300 cash award, and $1,000 continuing education voucher for MSU-Meridian, and $1,250 in school supplies.

The 8 monthly winners will be invited to the Golden Apple Teacher of the Year banquet and that winner will receive a special award on stage (The Meridian Star Article), a custom-made Teacher of the Year Trophy, $2,500 cash to be used at their discretion and a $2,500 scholarship to be awarded to a deserving student in the teacher’s name.

Meridian Community College is the title sponsor. Golden Apple Award Partners in Education key sponsors are The Meridian Star, The Meridian Family of Stations Bounce TV and MeTV of Meridian, EMEPA, Mississippi Power, Richard Schwartz, Citizens National Bank, Mississippi State University-Meridian, Avery Products, Woodstock Furniture. Participating sponsors are Meridian Coca-Cola Bottling, Labiche Jewelers, and College Savings Mississippi.

How to nominate an educator

Nominations for the monthly Golden Apple Award can be submitted by parents, faculty, or community members as well as past or present students. Candidates must be a current, full-time, faculty member in Pre-K through 12th grade (public or private) and work in the following counties: Lauderdale, Neshoba, Kemper, Clarke, and Newton in Mississippi; and Choctaw and Sumter in Alabama.

The nomination process consists of an essay (no more than 500 words) detailing why the person should be considered for the award. Nomination details and an entry form are available online at

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