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LDS honors outstanding teachers
Crystal Apple recipients and their principals are, back row from left, Raul Mora, principal, East Union; Geoffory Felver, Kimball; Brad Edom, East Union; Darin Haydock, Tracy; Adam Serpa, Ripon; Mike Horwood, principal, Lathrop; and Steve Clark, principal, Sierra. front row; Jason Noll, principal, Tracy; Julie Laister, Kimball; Elizabeth Van Eerde, Lathrop; and Kim French, Sierra.

The 4th Annual Crystal Apple Awards were held recently at the Northland building of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. 

The Saturday evening event recognized and honored outstanding educators from various high schools in Manteca, Lathrop, Ripon, and Tracy.  

The award, given to seven recipients this year, is based on excellent teaching; consistency in representing strong community values; and on having an ability to inspire those around them. They were nominated and presented by juniors and seniors from the Manteca Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints who attend high schools within the stake boundaries.  

The Crystal Apple Award winners were Brad Edom, East Union High, presented by Danielle Surenok; Kim French, Sierra High, presented by Caelan Parker; Elizabeth VanEerde, Lathrop High, presented by Geoff and Sam Fallon; Adam Serpa, Ripon High, presented by Hannah Welsh; Darin Haydock, Tracy High, presented by Jacob Spencer; Geoffory Felver, Kimball High, presented by Crystal Molina; and Julie Laister, Kimball High, presented by Yesvani Gomez.

As the students presented a Crystal Apple to the teacher they nominated, they told the audience why they chose that teacher.  Danielle Surenok, speaking about Mr. Edom, said, “He has a passion for what he teaches, and instills it in his students.  No one can doubt Mr. Edom’s care for his students and their education. When he speaks to his students one-on-one, it makes them feel like they’re the only person in the world, and that they’re genuinely important.”  It was clear that each student presenter held similar sentiments for the teacher they had chosen. 

One of the speakers, Steve Brown, thanked the educators for teaching others how to learn for themselves, and giving them purpose.  He shared with them that “The glory of God is intelligence;” that Latter-day Saints place education among their highest goals and aspirations; and they honor teachers in helping our youth in this process.  

Several local principals and administrators were able to attend the event.  Ted Guzman, President of the Tracy School Board, said that he thought it was a wonderful evening, and a great way to honor teachers.

A special youth choir performed several musical selections under the direction of Ben Fobert, principal of Mountain House High School.  These students, along with those who made the award nominations and others, participate in a four year early morning seminary program that is designed to build character and prepare teens for the spiritual challenges of life.  The evening was a great opportunity for local youth to express gratitude to teachers in the South County area for supporting them, and for all who attended to build bridges of respect and understanding between schools and communities.