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LDS honors outstanding teachers
Participating in the Crystal Apple Awards were, back row from left, Jason Noll, LDS Stake High Councilor; Steve Clark, Principal, Sierra; Frank Hagerty, Tracy; John Prieto, East Union; and Mike Horwood, Principal, Lathrop, Front row; Robert Mayfield, Ripon; Erika Hillstead, Kimball; Cheryl Behler, Manteca; Timothy Welsh, Venture Academy; and Eryn Bowers, East Union. - photo by BOB WHITAKER/About Face Photography

The 3rd Annual Crystal Apple Awards took place Saturday evening at the Northland building of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. 

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

Ten recipients received the award this year, which was based on excellent teaching; consistency in representing strong community values; and on having an ability to inspire those around them. They were nominated 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 John Prieto, East Union, nominated by Darren and Curtis Bramell; Eryn Bowers, East Union, nominated by Brooke Niendorf and Adrianna Allicea; Cheryl Behler, Manteca, nominated by Katie Crockett; Robert Mayfield, Ripon, nominated by Bryan Vincent and Abigail Waters; Daniel Dolieslaga, Sierra, nominated by Adam Searle and Marissa Scott; Timothy Welsh, Venture Academy, nominated by Austin Papworth and Katie Lockwood; Desiree Bugarin, Lathrop, nominated by George Fallon and Albert Hoang; Tyler Mullen, Kimball, nominated by Reese Maxfield, Jacob Taloa, and Derek Dunford; Erika Hillstead, Kimball, nominated by Kayden Turner; and Frank Hagerty, Tracy, nominated by Kaitlin Spencer. 

As the evening progressed, students presented a Crystal Apple to the teacher they nominated and told the audience why they chose that teacher. Darren Bramell, speaking about Prieto, said, “(He) is someone who gets you to enjoy learning...who teaches to students and doesn’t just lecture.” 

Brooke Niendorf noted that, “Mrs. Bowers is a good teacher, but a better person...who listens to everyone and provides a sympathetic ear.” 

Speaking of Behler, Katie Crockett said, “Not only does she teach her subject, she teaches morals and life skills, and shows genuine concern and care for her students.” 

Of Welsh, Katie Lockwood (unable to attend) wrote, “He teaches his class very well, and makes his teaching fun. He is a great motivator and pushes us to try harder in school.” 

Similarly, Bryan Vincent wrote that, “Mr. Mayfield brings happiness with all of his great jokes, and challenges me in class.”

Bugarin could not attend, but was represented by both Mike Horwood, principal of Lathrop High, and her father, who accepted the award for her. In addition, Steve Clark, principal of Sierra High, accepted the award on behalf of Mr. Dolieslaga.

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.