KHS teacher received Golden Apple award

Photo by Ethan Goetz/Journal-ExpressKnoxville High School English teacher Tracy DeWitt, right, is pictured with Knoxville senior Jinni Dingel, the student who nominated her for the Golden Apple award.

KNOXVILLE — Tracy DeWitt, an English teacher, received a little surprise and recognition for her teaching at Knoxville Community High School. WHO Channel 13 out of Des Moines, presented her with the Golden Apple Award. Dewitt was completely surprised.

“When they were calling the qualities out, I was thinking of all the teachers in this building I thought deserved it.” DeWitt said. “I had no idea they were talking about me.”

The Golden Apple was presented in the auditorium.

The teachers were told that they were going to have an assembly in the auditorium a couple of weeks prior. Teachers and students did not know what the assembly was going to be about.

“There was a bunch of rumors going on what it could be,” DeWitt said. “The kids all thought it was an anti-bullying assembly. We tried to ask what it could possibly be. They wouldn't tell us anything.”

Students and faculty walked into the auditorium to see a camera crew present. This is when they realized that the assembly was a big deal. Teachers began thinking this assembly might be for awarding the Golden Apple.

Once everyone was seated in the auditorium, representatives from WHO rolled out the banner and explained why they were there. They read parts of the letter that was submitted. They were vague on who was getting the Apple Award while reading parts of the letter, until the reader said “she,” which the reader emphasized.

“That eliminated all the males,” DeWitt said. “They said a couple of other things, then announced my name. I cried like a baby.”

Dewitt could not have received the Golden Apple without being nominated by a student. Jinni Dingel, a senior, wrote a letter nominating DeWitt.

“I nominated Mrs. DeWitt because she is the most inspiring woman I know,” Dingel said. “I have never met a more loving and encouraging person in my life, especially a teacher.”

Upon hearing that DeWitt won, Dingel said she could not stop smiling. She was excited to see her reaction upon learning she had won the Golden Apple.

Dingel wanted DeWitt to know what an impact she is making for the school and the lives of many students. She said that that DeWitt spends her lunch hours in her class room to eat her lunch to help students, tell stories and play games.

“Her room is always open,” Dingel said.

Dewitt stays active while in class, and outside of class. She does the yearbook, and spends a lot of her time going to activities, such as sporting events and dances, to take photos.

“Mrs. Dewitt is the best,” Dingel said. “I hope she finally starts to realize how absolutely loved she is.”

Ethan Goetz is a general assignment reporter for the Knoxville Journal-Express. He can be reached in the newsroom at 641-842-2155, ext. 19, or via email at reporter@pellachronicle.com. Follow him on Twitter @Ethan_Goetz.

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