Christine Rose, a teacher at Holy Child Catholic School in Bridgeville, wants all of her students to succeed and daily goes above and beyond her normal duties to ensure they do so.
In recognition of her efforts, the Diocese of Pittsburgh selected Mrs. Rose to receive the Golden Apple Award, which symbolizes excellent performance in the classroom, church and community.
Mrs. Rose was one of eight educators who received the award last month at the Westin Convention Center Hotel. She was presented with her award by Bishop David Zubik and Holy Child principal Sister Barbara Anne Quinn.
She is the first teacher from Holy Child to receive a Golden Apple Award.
"You work hard and you question yourself every day whether you are doing the right thing," Mrs. Rose said. "I was surprised but so touched and so honored."
In addition to receiving the Golden Apple, the educators received a $5,000 monetary award and a Golden Apple pin. The award is made possible through the Donahue Family Foundation.
A native of Wheeling, Mrs. Rose said she knew early on that she wanted to work with children, but it wasn't until the end of her freshman year at West Liberty University in West Virginia that she knew she wanted to get into education.
"I'm comfortable with children," she said. "I think I have a rapport with them."
Mrs. Rose grew up in a home with parents who she said felt very strongly about a Catholic education. She attended a Catholic grade school and high school. Upon graduating from college with a degree in elementary education, she accepted a position as a kindergarten teacher at her alma mater, St. Vincent de Paul Parish School in Wheeling, where she worked alongside her former first grade teacher.
"It was really nice. She was a good mentor for me," she said.
When she had three children of her own, Mrs. Rose took a break from teaching to stay home and raise them but continued the Catholic education tradition by sending them to Holy Child. She served as a parent volunteer while they attended the school, and then was offered a position as a teacher.
Mrs. Rose, who has worked for the school for 13 years, teaches upper-level and intermediate religion classes, math, English and spelling.
She was selected to receive the award for going beyond typical duties as an educator. Every Monday, she sponsors a Homework Helper Hour after school, volunteering to help students in kindergarten through grade five with their homework. She said she averages about 10 children and works with them on a variety of subjects.
She's also in charge of the Student Assistance Program, which offers support to students with behavior and/or academic difficulties that are posing a barrier to their learning and success in school. And, she is moderator for the Holy Child Student Council.
Mrs. Rose said she enjoys teaching different grade levels and seeing firsthand students' growth into nice young men and women. Most rewarding, she said, is working with students who are struggling with certain subjects, and then seeing them succeed and develop confidence.
"I just enjoy watching them grow," she said. "When you work hard with them, and then you see the light bulb go off, it's such a warm feeling."
Shannon M. Nass, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.