Kendall teacher receives Golden Apple Award

By on February 10, 2020
Kendall teacher Justin Staebell with Anthony Seymour, the student who nominated him for the Golden Apple Award.

Kendall teacher Justin Staebell with Anthony Seymour, the student who nominated him for the Golden Apple Award.

Kendall fourth grade teacher Justin Staebell recently received a Golden Apple Award. He was surprised by WROC-TV (Channel 8) News Anchor Lia Lando on January 9 with his award. The Golden Apple Award recognizes teachers making a difference in their communities. 

Staebell was nominated for the award by student Anthony Seymour. Anthony, with the help of his mother, nominated Staebell for helping him make the transition to a new school and classroom easier. “Anthony’s ability to talk to everyone in class helped him fit in this year,” said Staebell. “He came in with a smile every day and ready to learn, so he made his own transition easy.” 

Staebell was very surprised to receive the award. He said the last time a teacher at Kendall Elementary School received this award was close to 20 years ago, but he thought that would be a nice goal to achieve for himself someday. He comes from a family of educators and has five children of his own. “This award is just as much about the kids the teacher has as the teacher himself,” he said. He told his class the story of a student that he tutored every day one summer. “She hated it and would cry every day,” he said. “She really struggled that year.” He recently ran into her parent, who told him how she was getting ready to graduate college this year and become a nurse. “Her father told me, ‘You made her feel like she could do it, and she has,’” he said. “That story makes me feel great to know that I had an impact on her. I am so proud of her.” Staebell is often asked by graduating seniors to attend their commencement ceremonies; this demonstrates the impact he has on students who have long left his fourth grade class.

At the January Student of the Month assembly, Principal Heather Eysaman presented Staebell with an actual golden apple. He told the audience, “I’m just one of the apples on a golden tree here at Kendall Elementary.”