The Upper Arlington Civic Association is seeking nominations this month to help honor what the community believes are some of the most effective and inspiring local educators.
In 1981, the UACA began its tradition of recognizing outstanding teachers in the community, as nominated by students and parents, for the Golden Apple Awards. Back then, winners were announced at the nonprofit organization's Memorial Day celebration and presented with a gold, apple-shaped trophy.
"We are so blessed by the talented and dedicated teachers in our school system," said Phil Glandon, a former UACA president who was part of the group that established the Golden Apple Awards.
"We felt like they deserved to be recognized for their contribution to making Upper Arlington such a wonderful place to live and raise a family."
Now in its 37th year, the UACA's Golden Apple Awards remain a time-honored event meant to celebrate teachers in the Upper Arlington school district and at Mountview Christian Preschool, St. Agatha Catholic School, St. Andrew School and Wellington School for exemplary work to educate young minds and position students for a lifetime of success.
The UACA still selects award winners after reviewing nominations from the community, which it's calling for through March 31. The organization closely guards the names of winners until UACA members don their signature gold coats and march into local schools to present the awards to teachers in their classrooms.
Nominations can come from students, parents and peers and can be made online at directors1933.uaca.org/wordpress/events/golden-apple-awards/nominations.
Additional information is available at uaca.org.
"Thirty-seven years later, not too much has changed," said Mark Abell, UACA Golden Apple director. "We now collect nominations electronically through the Upper Arlington Civic Association website ... (and) they are collected in February through the end of March, with the presentations occurring in early April.
"We present an award to 12 teachers, bringing directors in gold coats through the hallways to present a trophy, a gold-covered edible apple and a chance to ride in the Golden Apple float during the Fourth of July parade."
Abell said the UACA still seeks to honor the important work of educators and to highlight those who go above and beyond in reaching students.
He said the Golden Apples are special because the recognition is community-driven.
"It is not only the ability to thank the educators and the schools for their dedication to the community, but the response from the community itself, which will submit hundreds of nominations," he said. "Parents will extend gratitude for the progress shown in their child's knowledge and passion for learning.
"Peers will share (stories of) the unknown hours by fellow educators behind the scenes trying to grade and fine-tune lesson plans for the coming days and weeks," he said.
"Often, some of the most heartfelt nominations will come from students themselves, who share firsthand the experience in the classroom with the teacher, explaining how enthusiastic and personal they can make learning."
Thinking back to the inaugural presentations, Glandon concurred.
He said the long-running awards are a testament to the quality of local educators and to residents for understanding that great schools yield great communities.
"It is wonderful that the tradition has continued," Glandon said. "We'll never run out of great teachers who deserve to be recognized."