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Billings teachers surprised with Golden Apple Awards



Billings, Montana – On Tuesday, the 2023 Golden Apple Awards were presented to seven of the most outstanding educators in the city of Billings.

A committee visited each of the schools in order to present awards to the various individuals that work there, including teachers, principals, and other staff members.

The individual who is given the prize, as well as the person’s family, are taken by surprise during this momentous occasion.

The kids at Lewis and Clark Middle School, as well as their history teacher Mr. Nels Jensen, had a very memorable day.

“It’s quite an honor knowing that the Golden Apple originates with students,” Jensen said. “That’s a big deal.”

Jensen’s family, like the families of all of the other beneficiaries, was informed of the surprise.

“He’s always you know, using a pun joke at me,” said Mercer Jensen, Nels’ son. “So, it’s cool that all these students recognize that with him. And like…”

“My terrible puns?” Nels said.

“Yes. terrible ones,” Mercer said.

“Fair,” said Nels.

“Dad jokes,” said Mercer.

At the beginning of the school day, Principal Kyra Gaskil found herself confronted with the same situation at Central Heights Elementary.

“A complete honor and a total shock,” said Gaskill.

A poster behind Gaskill with a theme she chose for this school year states, “Be The Sunshine.”

“All related to be good people, be kind, compassionate and caring,” said Gaskill.

Kindergarten students at Rose Park Elementary were polled on whether or not they think Jill Powers is an effective educator.

“Yea,” the class yelled together.

“I’m just excited to be honored with an award doing something that I love to do every day,” Powers said. “So I love kindergarten and I love teaching.”

Powers’ lessons have been attended by an overwhelming majority of Rose Park’s student body.

“I looked out and I saw from fifth grade down to kindergarten, different students that I’ve taught over the years,” Powers said. “So it was an honor to be here in front of students and staff.”

Throughout the course of the day, a total of seven members of the district staff are recognized, including one who the Golden Apple committee adores.

The other winners include:

• Sandi Carlson, Skyview High School registrar
• Kassidy Conlon, Medicine Crow Middle School orchestra teacher
• Lisa Hatlestad, Senior High School biology teacher
• Emily McClure, Riverside Middle School attendance/behavior specialist

“Going above and beyond in their daily work for the betterment of our students and the school district,” said Lynn Jensen, Golden Apple Committee co-chair.

And it would appear that they did find it.

“I’m so proud of you,” Mercer said about his dad. “Good job, buddy.”

“Thanks dude,” said Nels.

The teachers went to a special luncheon and a banquet is scheduled for May 9.

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