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Local students honor their teachers with apple awards

Award winners, l to r: Jim Tamialis, Dan Bornfeld, Sean Mehegan, Mary Anne Fenstermaker, Rob Cullinan,  and Lauren Godfrey (not pictured James Garvey and Franco Arena);
Award winners, l to r: Jim Tamialis, Dan Bornfeld, Sean Mehegan, Mary Anne Fenstermaker, Rob Cullinan, and Lauren Godfrey (not pictured James Garvey and Franco Arena);
Credit: Courtesy Dean Ossola

“This is a night I will never forget for the rest of my life,” said Rob Cullinan, a teacher at Dana Hills High School in Dana Point.

Cullinan was one of eight educators recognized at a Crystal Apple Awards Ceremony on March 19. The event, held at and sponsored by the Laguna Niguel Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was an evening filled with gratitude.

The eight teachers, from four South Orange County high schools, were nominated by students for their dedication. As a token of appreciation, each award winner was presented with a crystal apple trophy by his or her nominating student.

“Nights like these remind you that it is really the students and the teachers who are connected,” said Brian Ferguson, principal of Laguna Hills High School. “It’s not necessarily the curriculum.”

The teachers who received awards were Sean Mehegan and James Garvey from Laguna Beach High School, Lauren Godfrey and Jim Tamialis from Laguna Hills High School, Franco Arena and Dan Bornfeld from Aliso Niguel High School, and Rob Cullinan and Mary Ann Fenstermaker from Dana Hills High School.

James Garvey and Franco Arena were unable to attend, so their awards were accepted by school principals Dr. Joanne Culverhouse and Mr. Chris Carter.

Students presenting the awards were William Hogan and Ethan Chesley from Laguna Beach High School, Thopmas Blackwelder and Mark Stapley from Dana Hills High School, Marie Hansen and Warren Davis from Aliso Niguel High School and Chloe Flora and Will Sedgwick from Laguna Hills High School.

“What a wonderful celebration of our teachers.” said Dr. Michelle Le Patner, assistant superintendent, Capistrano Unified School District. “Each day they strive to make a brighter future through developing our childen’s minds.”

Attended by more than 300 guests, this was an inaugural Crystal Apple Awards Ceremony for the cities of Aliso Viejo, Laguna Niguel, Dana Point, Laguna Hills and Laguna Beach. The Laguna Niguel Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ for Latter Day Saints has announced its intention to make this an annual event.