A teacher from Coal Valley is among 30 finalists in Illinois for a prestigious Golden Apple Award.
Christine Watts has been teaching for 21 years. She’s been at Bicentennial Elementary School for three years.
The Golden Apple Award recognizes teachers for their work in the classrooms and the community.
“I’m very humbled, I’m very honored. I feel that it’s an award that can go to so many in the district and so I just I’m very blessed that I have that opportunity and I just hope that I make the Moline school district proud,” Watts said.
Something in her 21 years of teaching, she never expected.
“It just motivates me to continue doing the job that I love,” she said.
Watts teaches fourth graders
“There’s nothing like the joy that we get from a student who you know loves you and adores you and is learning and you can watch them grow and change and you have that small impact on their life. I think that is monumental and I think that more people should consider teaching because of how wonderful it is.”
For her, the hundreds of students she’s taught over the years make the job worth it.
“There’s so many kids that I’ve had in life that I just they have this special little place in my heart. And the fact that you’ve made an impact and that you have changed their life in some way, whether it’s a career path, whether its the fact that they’re doing well in school, that is the stuff that just makes me happy and know that I’m making a difference in kids lives.”
From the 30 finalists chosen for this award, ten teachers will actually win. The prize includes $5,000 cash and a spring sabbatical through Northwestern University.
Award finalists will be honored on February 22. The award recipients will be notified in the spring with surprise visits at their schools.