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Teachers leave impressions for years

March 4, 2009 - Mel Toadvine
When I came back to the office after taking pictures at Sunshine Elementary School of Tilisa Skerczak getting one of the Golden Apples, I really felt good.

Tilisa has to be one of those teachers that is dedicated and from the comments of her students, you know she is. I talked to almost all of them and I heard words such as “awesome,” “wonderful,” “loving,” and “a fun teacher.”


ilisa had been named among the long list of finalists for the Golden Apple Award a few months ago and she knew that she could be or not be a recipient. But her husband knew. He said his wife is a kind and wonderful person who is dedicated to teaching.

You know, we all can remember our teachers way back, especially the ones who inspired us the most. They don’t always know the impact they leave with a child. Tilisa teaches a class of advance pre-kindergartners at Sunshine and she not only teaches them, but she does it with fun and love and the children react likewise to her.

They’ll be the the adults in 30 and 40 years remembering “Mrs. Skerczak” as a teacher who left an impression on them.

Her principal, Jeff Dobbins, told me that Mrs. Skerczak is a 24/7 type of teacher. “She might email me with an idea on a Sunday on her day off and I email her back and tell her to enjoy her day and we’ll talk about it on Monday ... she is the type of teacher who loves those kids and always wants to do something to get them started in life.” Jeff isn’t the only one, nor are the students in her room, who think she is tops.

Teachers and staff members all had nice things to say about the Golden Apple recipient. Assistant Principal Sherri Wipf of Fort Myers had nothing but good things to say about her co-worker.

Administrative workers in the office had good things to say. It was a surprise when the Golden Apple Foundation walked into its first Golden Apple recipient in Fort Myers earlier in the morning. Then it was to Lehigh and Sunshine Elementary School.

The principal and vice principal had closed the blinds so the kids and the teacher couldn’t see the Foundation members and the media with TV cameras coming, but one little boy, said he could see through the blinds and he saw them coming “I knew they were coming to give her a Golden Apple,” he told me.

We have some very good teachers.

A few weeks back another teacher in Lehigh won the Teacher of the Year for the School District. Again, I saw a caring teacher, one who knew how to teach match skills into the brains of his students so they enjoyed learning. And he had been doing it for a lot of years at Lehigh Senior High School in the same classroom where he taught when the school opened.

When you see teachers like this, and most of the teachers I know, including my own niece and nephew who teach in Cape Coral, love their jobs. I wonder if they know the impressions they are leaving on their students that will last for years to come. They’re all winners my book.


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