LIMA — Two Catholic school schoolteachers will be honored next month with the Golden Apple Award from the Catholic Diocese of Toledo.
Lima Central Catholic High School teacher Deb Schenk and St. Charles Catholic School teacher Kelly Buss are two of the nine teachers in the diocese to get the award.
“I was very surprised and honored in the fact that someone actually thought I was worthy of receiving this award,” Buss said. “The fact that they thought I was a good enough teacher to be deserving of this award is very humbling.”
The two will be recognized at a June 6 celebration in Toledo. The award was established eight years ago to honor outstanding individuals who devote their lives to teaching in Catholic schools. Students and parents nominate teachers.
“I was shocked. It is not something you expect,” Schenk said, adding that it is even more special coming from families. “You never know how you are reaching kids or what the affect is of what you do.”
Buss has taught third and fourth grade at St. Charles for 20 years. It was her first job out of college and she has never had any desire to leave.
“I am just happy to be here every day. There is not a day I wake up and say, ‘I don’t want to go to work,’” she said. “It is just a good place to be and staff members are just fabulous. We are one big family. And the fact that I get to teach about God and Jesus is the best too.”
Buss also works with summer vacation Bible school at St. Michael Catholic Church in Kalida, and volunteers with the Kalida Little League, Girls Scouts and Cub Scouts.
After teaching in public schools and substitute teaching in both public and private schools, Schenk was offered a part-time job at LCC in 1994. That job turned into a full-time position. She teaches biology and health. She said she believes in the Catholic schools mantra that they are “different by design.”
“There is such support from parents, and the kids who are here are serious about their education,” she said. “It is truly different.”
Schenk also serves as the school’s assistant athletic director and was involved in this year’s Kiros retreat for LCC seniors.
Buss is St. Charles’ third award recipient. Schenk, who said she is overwhelmed by the award, is the first LCC teacher to get it.
“I work with such terrific people,” she said. “It just feels funny to be picked out from them because I work with a great group of people. Anyone on our staff could earn this award.”
Recipients receive a 24-karat gold cross, Golden Apple lapel pin and a cash stipend. The award is possible thanks to the generosity of the Donahue Family Foundation of Pittsburgh.