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Local students honor middle school and high school teachers at 26th Annual Crystal Apple Awards

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Back row (l-r): Katie Stapko, Kathryn Francois, Stuart Pollock, Kristina DeVico, Adam Latham, Hunter Pashkow; Front row (l-r): Sasha Voigt, Jason Dickinson, Kellie Lenahan, Jackie Mendez, Ericka Callihan, Geoff Westermeyer
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On the evening of Wednesday, May 15, The Del Mar Stake, a local chapter of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, hosted the 26th annual Crystal Apple Awards. Each year, the church’s youth of high school and middle school age vote to select the teachers they feel had the greatest impact on them.

Fourteen teachers, one from each of the represented middle and high schools of the San Dieguito and Rancho Santa Fe school districts as well as San Marcos High School were honored for their excellence in teaching. Students nominated teachers who had especially touched their lives and impacted their education in a positive way.

Community members, civic leaders, school board members, and school leaders came together to see each deserving teacher receive their awards.

There was a wonderful program of speakers and music put on by a youth choir. School board members presented the teachers with crystal apple trophies as a token of their service to the local students.

Alivia Fellows, a senior at La Costa Canyon High School, spoke in the program. She said, “When I moved to San Diego from Las Vegas three years ago, I was scared to go to a new school without knowing anyone and having no friends. So many wonderful teachers and school administrators helped me and my sister to feel wanted and comfortable at our new school. I can tell that you love your students. Thank you for all you do. Thank you for loving us.”

RSF School District Superintendent Donna Tripi was a presenter and during the program said, “I thank you for honoring teachers, and I hope that our teachers feel that they are loved and appreciated every day for the work that they do. Because teaching to them is not a profession, it’s a calling, and they really should know how much we appreciate what they do. It’s the most important job in the world. And this recognition is really a blessing for them to give them another opportunity to be recognized.”

The following teachers were recognized for their service:

Adam Latham - Earl Warren Middle School

Jason Dickinson - Carmel Valley Middle School

Kellie Lenahan - Pacific Trails Middle School

Kristina DeVico - Torrey Pines High School

Katie Stapko - La Costa Canyon High School

Sasha Voigt - Diegueno Middle School

Aaron Kachorek - San Marcos High School

Kelly Baggins - San Dieguito Academy

Geoff Westermeyer - Oak Crest Middle School

Stuart Pollock - Canyon Crest Academy

Jackie Mendez - R. Roger Rowe School

Hunter Pashkow - Pacific Ridge School

Ericka Callihan - SOUL Charter School

Kathryn Francois, of La Costa Canyon High School received a special Crystal Apple Award.

— News release