For the second time this year, the JET 24 PennWest University Golden Apple Award is given to a first-year teacher.

Emma McDermott is a kindergarten teacher in the Wattsburg School District.

She decided early in life to be a teacher and confirmed her career choice to be a kindergarten teacher while student teaching.

“They learn so much this year. this is an important year for them. When I did my student teaching I worked in kindergarten and I got to see how much they grew. Getting to come in every single day, seeing their smiles, getting them to be excited about learning is something you really don’t get in any other profession,” said Emma McDermott, Golden Apple teacher.

At six-feet-tall, this week’s Golden Apple Award-winning teacher was a basketball player for Mercyhurst University and things she learned as an athlete she uses everyday in the classroom.

“Being a basketball player taught me a lot of things, one of them being disciplined. but it also taught me alot about hard work and determination,” McDermott said.

And those skills benefit the students, like this week’s tiny student nominator, who had a little help writing his letter, from mom who is thankful.

“He comes home happy and in a great mood every day. He’s always talking about her. I can already see the impact she has made on him,” said Amber Drzewicki, Dominic’s mom.

“When you look at the letter dominic wrote, and how she greets every day with a smile, makes him want to smile, makes the class fun, makes it learning, welcoming, is exactly the kind of kindergarten teacher we want,” said Dr. Andy Pushchak, PennWest University.

“When you walk in the room and you see their reactgion, its hard to not get emotional yourself. and knowing that we’re now part of this and giving this huge award even a little boost with that $250 makes it even more exciting,” said Jill McCormick, Big Ideas Learning.

Congratulations Emma McDermott, this week’s JET24 PennWest University Golden Apple Award winner.