Tonight we're sharing a News 8 Golden Apple surprise from Pine Brook Elementary School in Greece. Second Grade Teacher Susan Welch was nominated by two families.
Sarah Cerone and Hannah Cahill were supposed to be in their classroom at Pine Brook Elementary school. Instead, they snuck out to be with their families and help us surprise their teacher, Susan Welch, with a News 8 Golden Apple Award.
Susan Welch is a teacher students don't forget. Ashley Cahill is now an eighth grader at Athena Middle School. "She was always encouraging and helped me to learn."
Mrs. Welch says great kids make great teachers. "I couldn't do the things I do if I didn't have the wonderful children that I do. And they are very special to me because they are my Welchkins!"
Did you catch that? She calls her students, like Hannah Cahill and Sarah Cerone, her "Welchkins."
Hannah says "She's very nice and she's fun and she likes to read to us."
Sarah looks forward to coming to school "Because Mrs. Welch is really fun."
"They make me proud" says Mrs. Welch. "They make me motivated, they make me want to do better."
There's a reason she's enthusiastic. Susan is a breast cancer survivor. It changed everything. "I don't take things for granted. Not only with teaching but just in general because I feel like I have a new lease on life."
Susan Welch is a News 8 Golden Apple Award winner. You can read the letters we received from the Cerone and Cahill families nominating her below.
Dear News 8,
Sue Welch is a 2nd grade teacher at Pine Brook Elementary School in Greece. She is a veteran teacher and instills a love of learning and discovery in her classroom. But Mrs. Welch goes beyond the classroom in her care of her students. Our daughter, Sarah, is a 2nd grader in her classroom this year.
Recently, Sarah's aunt (my identical twin sister) was diagnosed with breast cancer. Sarah and her Aunt June are extremely close. Mrs. Welch, a breast cancer survivor herself, heard that Sarah's Aunt June was undergoing surgery. We received a phone call from Mrs. Welch and she asked if she could stop over our house. When Mrs. Welch arrived she carried a bag of "goodies" she wanted to share with Sarah. She presented Sarah with a bear that another Pine Brook teacher had made for her when she was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Mrs. Welch demonstrated how to hug the bear when she was sad, toss the bear up in the air when she was happy, and when she was angry about her aunt having cancer it was ok to get mad at it because the bear will always forgive.
Then Mrs. Welch presented Sarah with some gifts with the breast cancer symbol. Mrs. Welch gave Sarah two books about children who are dealing with breast cancer. In one of them it talked about "when your favorite aunt has breast cancer". Our daughter, Sarah, was given a special understanding of the effects of breast cancer when Mrs. Welch talked to her about losing her own hair during treatment and how it did not change her as a person. She described how Aunt June will feel tired at times but that she will always appreciate knowing she is loved.
As a parent Mrs. Welch provided comfort and knowledge to our daughter about a frightening disease during a tumultuous period of time. Because of Mrs. Welch's selflessness our daughter has a friend and advocate in addition to a phenomenal teacher.
On a personal note, Sue Welch has given my sister and me support and information about breast cancer, its treatment, and where to turn for help.
Please consider making Mrs. Susan Welch your next Golden Apple Award.
Jeanne and Sarah Cerone
Dear News 8,
Sue Welch has been an amazing teacher for my children. I have two specific cases of how she went above and beyond the classroom and showed she really cares about her students. Recently our family suffered a sudden tragic loss. My daughter, Hannah, who is currently in Sue's class, was faced with dealing with the death of her uncle whom she was very close to. To a 7 year old child, death is a very confusing and sad situation, with little emotional understanding. Sue had lunch with my daughter, privately in her classroom and talked to Hannah about what she was feeling. She gave her a book " The Next Place," read it with her and had a conversation. The details, I can't relay b/c I was not at this lunch but what I can tell you is that my daughter came home stronger, not so sad and able to really talk about what she knew vs what she thought about the situation.
Sue Welch helped me as a parent with words to guide my daughter and helped my daughter understand a topic that can be very frightening. Sue took the time to be with her student. Time is a precious commodity to us all and she again, took the time! Sue Welch does this everyday in her classroom. She guides the kids not just academically but socially and emotionally as well.
My second example is with my oldest daughter, Ashley who had Sue as a teacher 6 years ago. Ashley was a very anxious child going into second grade and didn't have a lot of confidence socially or academically. Sue opened the door for her to go outside of her comfort zone, go "outside the box" per say and make her feel like the classroom was a safe place. There was no wrong or right way of doing things in her classroom. She was always about building self esteem and confidence. She encouraged the use of your imagination, creativity and individuality. The year did not go by without struggles, milestones and huge accomplishments. Today, Ashley is socially confident, extremely successful in her academics and not at all afraid to see "outside the box." I attribute a lot of this to Sue Welch. She was pivotal in making Ashley feel like she could do anything and that one year was the foundation to the road ahead.
Sue is a fantastic communicator with parents, innovative in her teaching and always full of enthusiasm in the classroom. Her motto is "there is nothing a child can't do."
I believe Sue should be given the Golden Apple award because she goes way beyond her job description and truly is shaping child's lives. She makes a difference. She is a huge asset to our school community and the teaching community as a whole. My children have greatly benefited from having her as a teacher and so has my family."
Kim and Hannah Cahill