VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - It is Golden Apple week at News 10. Every year, we look forward to honoring teachers across the Wabash Valley who go above and beyond to mentor our students.
Our first Golden Apple award winner lives by a special quote in her classroom every day. It goes like this, "People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel."
Annie Bacon of Terre Haute works hard to make her students feel appreciated, respected and empowered.
She's an 8th grade English teacher at Otter Creek Middle School. She started as a student-teacher at the school and fell in love with the campus and the students.
"When I got the job in middle school, it was like a dream come true. I always say this is where I should be," Bacon told us.
Mrs. Bacon works hard to make English fun and relatable for the 8th graders she teaches.
On the day we stopped in, she used plastic Easter eggs with treats inside as a way to learn argumentative writing.
Inside the eggs, students found everything from Nerds, to Recees, to Sweetarts. The kids have to argue one candy over the other - and write a paragraph.
"I want every day to not be the same. I want kids to ask, what are we doing to do in Mrs. Bacon's class today?" Bacon said.
Mrs. Bacon says she keeps her room bright and colorful to radiate positive energy for her students. She even has what's called a 'graffiti wall.' It's a place for students to leave inspirational messages for other students.
"I know when I was a teenager, if I felt disrespected by somebody, I might be a little bit defiant. So, I really try to cut the defiance down, get the guards down, and realize this is a safe place," Bacon said. "In this room...whatever troubles they're dealing with socially in the hallway or at home fade away. And they know they have a teacher who cares and who loves them, and who wants the best for them both academically, socially and emotionally."
Mrs. Bacon is also in charge of Otter Creek's school newspaper and yearbook. In fact, she's the only middle school yearbook sponsor in Vigo County who creates her own school's yearbook from scratch.
"We're doing tremendous work at Otter Creek every day, and for one of our own to be recognized in what we do here and what she does to make a difference in the lives of children..it's a wonderful opportunity we are so proud of her," Otter Creek Principal Sarah Gore said.
Annie Bacon will tell you she wanted to win a Golden Apple for her mom. Her mother was a longtime educator who became Anne's mentor and inspiration.
Now, this 2021 Golden Apple award winner has become an inspiration to so many others.