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Golden Apple Recipients Announced!

On February 23 students in five Collier County classrooms received bushels of Golden Delicious apples as their teachers were surprised with Golden Apple awards, which highlight best practices in teaching.  Representatives from Suncoast Credit Union, presenting sponsor of the Golden Apple Teacher Recognition Program, were joined by Champions For Learning board members, sponsors, and volunteers to present the awards to the teachers in their classrooms.

This year each school  brought forward a teacher and best practice to highlight on behalf of their school. From this group of Teachers of Distinction, Champions For Learning’s community-based selection committee identified five teachers to highlight as Golden Apple recipients.

Congratulations to the following 2017-18 Golden Apple recipients.  See attached list for the names of Teachers of Distinction.

  • Staci Haralson Barretta, Big Cypress Elementary
  • Hope Cliff, Sea Gate Elementary
  • Mary B. Eckard, Highlands Elementary
  • Dylan Richard Opper, Pinecrest Elementary
  • Heather Thornton, Gulf Coast High

“At Suncoast Credit Union, we believe that the stronger we make our teachers, the stronger our students will be. For this reason, we create opportunities for educators to share best practices and to grow professionally, “ said Cindy Helton executive director of the Suncoast Credit Union Foundation.  “The Golden Apple Awards enable us to recognize teachers whose dedication and practices stand above the rest. We hope that the grants will inspire them to continue investing in our students and to develop innovative practices.”

The 2017-18 Golden Apple recipients will each receive a grant (up to $5,000) from Suncoast Credit Union to allow the building of best practices.  All Teachers of Distinction receive a $250 award, and the Golden Apple recipients receive an additional $500 award thanks to the Mary Ingram Fund of the Columbus Foundation.

The Suncoast Credit Union Foundation is funded through the credit union members’ use of their debit and credit cards. The Suncoast for Schools Rewards Debit Card and VISA Credit Card program automatically generates funds that are dedicated to education and health-related initiatives benefiting children in the local community.

The community will honor and thank the Golden Apple Recipients, Teachers of Distinction, and Collier County Public Schools Teachers of the Year at the Golden Apple Celebration of Teachers Dinner on April 16, 2018.  We will also be honoring Thomas Riley as the 2017-2018 Heart of the Apple recipient for his contribution to our community.

The event is presented by Suncoast Credit Union and is generously hosted by the Naples Grande Beach Resort. Additional support is provided by Adams Food, Inc./McDonald’s, CenturyLink, Conditioned Air, eBella Magazine, the Mary Ingram Fund of the Columbus Foundation, Moorings Park, Naples Daily News, NBC-2, Perna-Rose Foundation for Hope, Wells Fargo.

The event hashtag will be #goldenapplecollier and #Champions4Collier

Opportunities to sponsor a school to attend the event are available. For more information on event sponsorships and ticket sales click here.

Families, students, and the entire community are invited to join in the celebration by tuning in to NBC-2 for the Golden Apple television program highlighting the great work of teachers in Collier County classrooms.  The program will be aired on April 22 on NBC-2 at 7:00pm, and rebroadcast multiple times after on The Education Channel.

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Suncoast Scholarship Now Open

The Suncoast Credit Union is partnering with Champions For Learning to offer five (5) $2,000 scholarship awards to high school graduates in the Class of 2018.  Class of 2018 high school graduates in Suncoast Credit Union’s 21-county service territory have the opportunity to apply for financial support to continue their education, thanks to a $116,000 investment in scholarships by the Tampa-based credit union’s Foundation.

Applications are now open and are available. Click here to download the application.

All applications must be received by 5pm on January 12, 2018 at the Champions For Learning office, 3606 Enterprise Avenue #150, Naples, FL  34104.

This year’s Suncoast Credit Union Scholars program represents a continued philosophy of the foundation to support education initiatives and the well-being and potential of children.  Since its inception in 1990, the Foundation has contributed more than $19 million including more than 600 student scholarships valued at nearly $1 million.

“We believe the best way we can build better communities is by investing in education and health-related initiatives for children,” said Cindy Helton, Executive Director of the Suncoast Credit Union Foundation.  “Through the Suncoast Credit Union Scholars program, we have the opportunity to invest in individual human potential, which is particularly rewarding.”

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Congratulations College Graduates!

We are extremely proud of our recent college graduates and would like to wish them good luck on their future endeavors!

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