VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - Someone once said, "to teach is to touch a life forever."
That's certainly the case for our 2020 Golden Apple Award winners.
Imagine teaching a child in the early stages of their life, and being the reason why they love to come to school.
There's a lot of responsibility with that role, but it's one this Golden Apple winner cherishes.
Her name is Jodi Southard. She's a first-grade teacher at Lost Creek Elementary School.
Her colorful classroom is full of action to keep these six-year-olds moving, both physically and mentally.
"I want them to get excited. I want them to know school is a fun place. It's a safe place for them and I just think that elementary teachers have such an important job in kinda instilling that love of learning with our kids," Southard said.
Mrs. Southard is known for her theme days. She transforms her room several times a year into themes to match what the kids are learning.
You'll find things like arctic day, superhero day, and perhaps her most popular...bat cave day.
"I cover the windows it's dark all day. They bring a flashlight we learn about bats. We read about bats..we do math with bats..so they love it!
Southard told us. "It's just a fun way where I can build this excitement still around academics, so we still do our reading and writing and math and science activities. But it just make them excited to come to school."
She doesn't just influence her students. She believes teaching is a lifelong process of learning.
Southard is the author of the blog 'Fun in First.' It's an online way to share resources, ideas, and teaching strategies for primary teachers.
She's already been honored with a Vigo County Teacher of the Year Award and a News 10 Make a Difference Award. Now she can add Golden Apple to the list.
This teacher says she wouldn't want to be anywhere else.
"I love first graders because they are so excited every single day. They come in they want to learn. They love you. They're excited for school. They're willing to get up and dance and sing and act silly and come to school dressed as a superhero!" Southard said.