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W’bgo teacher earns Golden Apple Award

By Staff | Apr 3, 2011

For years now, KEYC?TV and Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato have come together to recognize a variety of worthy teachers in the area with the honor of the Golden Apple Award.

Recently, Winnebago Elementary teacher Lenne Holland accepted the award after being nominated by some parents of her students.

“I have no clue who nominated me,” Holland says. “But she (the KEYC reporter) told me two parents had sent the nicest letters.”

Holland is a kindergarten teacher to a classroom of 20 youngsters at Winnebago. She’s been teaching for 40 years — including time in preschool, kindergarten, second-grade and third-grade classrooms — but the majority of her career has been spent molding the minds of kindergarteners.

Holland says she’s known since she was young that she wanted to work with kids and become a teacher.

Winnebago Elementary teacher Lenne Holland with her kindergarten students.

“They’re just fun,” she says, smiling. “They each have their own special thing about them.”

They may be fun, but Holland admits kids can be a handful sometimes, so she encourages volunteers in her classroom — not just to give her extra help, but because she thinks it’s beneficial to the students to have more people educating them.

“The more hands you can have in the classroom, the better,” Holland says. “I really try to keep parents informed and go that extra step to get them involved.”

That could be just one of the reasons someone decided to nominate her to be a Golden Apple Award recipient.

It wasn’t until Winnebago Elementary principal Kevin Grant approached her about being on KEYC that Holland realized an award like that even existed.

Holland holds the “Golden Apple Award” she received from Bethany Lutheran College and KEYC TV after parents of her students nominated her for the award.

And since she doesn’t actually get that television channel at her house, Holland watched the news clip online during her kindergarten class, so her students could see it as well.

“They were saying, ‘That’s me, that’s me!'” Holland laughs, adding that the day KEYC came to film, some students couldn’t even remember their last names because they were so nervous to be on camera.

Holland doesn’t think the kids quite understood why she was being honored, but they were definitely anxious to get their hands on her Golden Apple Award.

No, it’s not actually golden — nor is it edible — but it is a representation of the dedication Holland gives to her job and her students, and the appreciation parents have of her influence on their children.

Although Holland qualified for retirement several years ago, the option of leaving work isn’t a thought in her mind whatsoever.

“I love teaching and I love kids, and I don’t know that I could find anything better than what I’m doing right now,” she says.

Plus, the use of educational games, videos, activities and technological advances help her feel like the job is constantly fresh, and she never gets bored.

“If I did the same thing day after day after day, I think I’d tire of it,” Holland says. “But I try to find new things and improve on what I do because the kids are always different.

“I just want them to learn to love school.