Golden Apple Award: An open door to learning

The 10/11 Golden Apple Award is sponsored by Doane University College of Education
Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 5:21 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 27, 2021 at 5:46 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - You can keep going. That’s a message Cass Didier is teaching students at Waverly High School. She’s been a Spanish teacher there for five years. But, what students receive in her classroom is so much more.

The 10/11 Golden Apple winner for October 2021 is known to always have la puerta, or the door, open. And a simple action like that can send a big message. Being a welcoming presence is something students in Cass Didier’s Spanish class appreciate, especially during tough times.

Makayla Anselmo-Gilliam nominated Mrs. Didier for the 10/11 Golden Apple award. This Waverly sophomore said, “Mrs. Didier always stands outside of her door, and always welcomes you. She always says ‘hola’ and good morning, or good afternoon and everything.”

“I decided to nominate Mrs. Didier because she is really just super inspirational and she’s really just the kindest person that I know, and you can go up to her and tell her anything,” Anselmo-Gilliam said.

Mrs. Didier has been so open with her students and those around her, that she’s even shared some personal struggles over the last few years.

“So the past four or five years here at Waverly, I’ve been pregnant three out of the five years, so they’ve had to be flexible with another teacher in the room,” Didier said. “My first year pregnancy it was actually a still birth. So I had to come back after losing my son, and teach Spanish to 100 plus kids. That was tough.”

Then she went through another pregnancy, and then another stumbling block.

“My husband also had a kidney cancer diagnosis, that I just had to address in the classroom,” Didier said. “(I wanted to) keep the kids feeling loved and supported. But also we wanted to just keep learning. We roll with whatever we are given, and try to have a little fun doing so.”

Dr. Megan Myers is the Waverly High School principal. “Cass has been through some tough times,” Myers said. “I think she’s shared that with kids and kids can share with her. That just helps those connections I think be more real.”

So keeping la puerta, or the door, open can send an important message. “You can keep going,” Didier said. It’s just another lesson learned in Mrs. Didier’s classroom.

And some good news. Mrs. Didier’s family is doing great now. She has two children and her husband is on the mend.

If you know a teacher who you think should be recognized, nominate them for a 10/11 Golden Apple Award here.

Doane University College of Education
Doane University College of Education(Doane University College of Education)

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