Golden Apple: Spanish teacher, Tracy Chapelle, finding new ways to make her classroom immersive

Each month during the school year 10/11 presents a Golden Apple award, the presented award goes to a deserving teacher.
Updated: May. 31, 2023 at 10:00 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Each month during the school year, 10/11 and Doane University College of Education present a Golden Apple Award to a deserving teacher.

Our winner for May 2023 is Pius X Spanish teacher Tracy Chapelle.

Chapelle teaches at her alma mater. She attended UNL and came back to teach at Pius X. Now she’s being awarded for her outstanding efforts in the classroom.

“Oh my gosh, I’m going to cry,” said Mrs. Chapelle when 10/11′s Taryn Vanderford surprised her in her classroom.

Mrs. Chapelle, a Spanish teacher and department chair for international languages, says she’s never won anything like this before during her 29 years of teaching at Pius. It was clear Chapelle was shocked to receive the award, but the Pius parent who nominated her said she’s so deserving.

“She is the kind of teacher that makes a difference in a student’s life. Mrs. Chapelle cares for her students as if they were her own. She is with them on good days and on not so good days. She encourages her students to excel in learning the language, and she is with them guiding them all the way,” said Catia Guerrero, a parent of a Pius student.

When Mrs. Chapelle was learning the Spanish language, she found it was a challenge to conduct a normal conversation. That’s why Mrs. Chapelle totally revamped the program and made her classroom immersive.

Tom Korta, Chief Administrative Officer of Lincoln Pius X High School, spoke highly of Mrs. Chapelle. When he found out that his own daughter was going to be in Mrs. Chapelle’s classroom, he learned how valuable her communication and teaching skills really are.

“Mrs. Chapelle spent a summer watching Spanish television to get herself to a spot where she felt she could walk in the classroom and be fluent and speak the whole 45 minutes in Spanish,” said Mr. Korta. “It started with just our Spanish 4 was entirely in Spanish. Now if you walk into a Spanish 1 classroom, I’d say about 80 percent of what’s being spoken is in Spanish. That’s all because of Tracy’s vision, her humility to say ‘hey, I need to step up my game in this regard,’ and she’s been a terrific leader for her department.”

Another teacher, doing tremendous work, connecting with students and earning a 10/11 Golden Apple.

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