The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
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April 14, 2000 Issue
Local News

Award takes shine to Annunciation School

Five Green Bay Catholic school teachers win special honors

By Jeff Kurowski
Compass Assistant Editor



Excited about education.

This description not only fits the students at Annunciation School in Green Bay, but also the middle school teaching team.

Jesse Annoye, Kelley Hinton, Sarah Scovell Muraski, Holly Thomas and Linda Weideman may have less than 10 years combined experience at the school, but they have quickly left their mark on the students in grades five through eight.

On April 19, the five educators will receive Golden Apples in recognition of excellence in teaching. It marks the first Golden Apple honor for a Catholic school teacher or teaching team.

The Golden Apples are annually presented by Partners in Education. Seven teachers/teacher teams will be honored at this year's banquet. WLUK-TV Channel 11 will televise the awards portion of the banquet from 8 to 9 p.m. Nominated educators complete an extensive application process including essays and videotapes for award consideration.

"The whole school deserves the Golden Apple," said Annoye, who teaches religion and physical education. "All the teachers and students are great. We have so much parent involvement. You always feel appreciated and the kids are excited to be here."

"We have a really good board of education that supports us," said Hinton, who teaches social studies and math.

"There is a real sense of community that we get here," said Scovell Muraski.

The teachers are being honored as a team because of their team concept approach to teaching. They describe their teaching style as creative, innovative, crazy and experimental.

For example, Scovell Muraski, who teaches French, English and physical education, introduced the "Mitosis Ballet" when filling in for a science class.

"I put on Mozart and had the kids demonstrating how cells divide by dancing," she explained. "Some of the boys were apprehensive at first, but they all loved it."

Other examples of their creativity include having the students make an edible map of Japan in social studies class, and "Shadow Theatre," to teach the Stations of the Cross in religion class.

"The students have an energy that makes hands on learning exciting," said Thomas, who teaches science and math.

"Showing students how what they learn applies to life is a point of emphasis for the middle school team. Thomas teaches the "Game of Life" in her math class. Students learn how to balance a checkbook and live on a budget.

The teachers were surprised to discover that their honor was a first for a Catholic school.

"Everything that we do says something about faith," said Scovell Muraski. "We teach social awareness and how to live the gospel."

A commitment to service learning is an extension of faith, said Annoye.

"We put religious theory into practice," he said. "Students painted the wheel chair ramp of a blind woman who lives up the road. In November, the kids learned about social awareness through first, second and third world meals. They learned how much we have compared to other parts of the world."

Annunciation has an enrollment of approximately 200 students with 60 in the middle school grades. The entire school population gathered in the basement to witness the announcement of the Golden Apples.

"I was so surprised," said Weideman, who teaches English, reading, vocabulary and physical education. "I can't believe we were selected."

"The kids gave us a standing ovation, which was really special," said Scovell Muraski. "One of the board members put a marquee in front of the school announcing it."

The teachers hope the Golden Apple recognition benefits the school.

"It's amazing how few resources we seem to have," said Scovell Muraski. "We are lucky the parents are really generous."

"We would like to see our numbers and funding increase," said Hinton. "More technology would really be helpful."

The teachers have no plans to change what has made them successful. They will continue such fun, creative teaching methods as dressing up in '70s clothing to connect with the students.

"We like to experiment with standard teaching theory and the kids respond to it," said Hinton.

"I describe Annunciation School as the best kept secret," said Scovell Muraski. "This school is amazing."

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