by Will Price, ’18
The Golden Apple award, according to the Upper Arlington Civic Association, is “an award that recognizes outstanding staff members throughout Upper Arlington’s public and private schools.” The award is voted on by both students and parents throughout January and March and handed out in April.
This year, Adele Vergis was selected by students and parents to win the Golden Apple for her outstanding teaching at Upper Arlington High School.
Vergis teaches regular and advanced placement government at the high school.
“In the moment I was very surprised. You don’t get into teaching for the awards necessarily, so it felt really nice to get this award,” Vergis said.
While members of the Civic Association read off comments from those who nominated her, Vergis was touched by the words of those students.
“It felt really nice to hear the things that the students who nominated said. I remember there being something about mock trial, so I think the mock trial team and the debate team had something to do with it,” Vergis said.
She was given the honor during her government class first period on Friday, April 20th. It began when principal Andrew Theado knocked on her door.
“He asked me if a few visitors could come in. That’s when I saw the people with the jackets and I remember thinking that this was probably a good thing,” Vergis said.
She enjoyed being able to share the moment with the kids in her government class.
“All the students were excited, probably because their research activity was over for the day,” Vergis said. “It really didn’t feel like it was an individual thing for me because I was sharing the moment with everyone else in the class too.”
Vergis thanked the supportive community for the award. Students throughout the high school have enjoyed their time in her classroom since she began teaching at UAHS in 2015.
Senior Graham Overcash, who had her for AP Government last year, appreciated the enthusiasm she brought to class from day to day.
“Her passion for teaching government and her ability to connect with all of her students and engage their learning is what made her class stand out for me,” Overcash said.
Junior Thomas Richter, who has her this year for AP Government, enjoys the way she structures class.
“She does a good job of balancing notes and discussion with activities that make class fun and informative,” Richter said.
The energy she brings to her class comes from her passion for American history.
“I majored in History with a focus on American History. What I love about government is that it is a different lense to look at American history. It’s my absolute favorite topic and teaching government here has made me understand it more,” Vergis said.
She makes efforts to liven up the class for her students. The day she was awarded the Golden Apple, she recalled playing Disney throwback music in class.
“I think it was the Jonas Brothers. One of my students had to go over and turn it off when Principal Theado and everyone showed up,” Vergis said with a chuckle.
Vergis did her student teaching here at the high school with teachers Betsy Sidor and Cathy Johnson. In an interview for the UA Schools website, Vergis said that after this experience she knew she wanted to teach at UAHS.
As fun as the occasion was, she still felt a bit emotional about the receiving such a prestigious award.
“My eyes got a little watery. It felt really nice to be recognized and it was really special to have that class of kids with me that day. It was a really fun first period,” Vergis said.
She also wanted to thank the people she works with in the high school for the award.
“I’m thankful for my students and colleagues for making every day fun,” Vergis said in her interview for UA schools.
On top of teaching government, Vergis helps with the mock trial and moot court teams here at UAHS and has also helped with the Lincoln-Douglas debate team the past two years.
“It’s something fun to do, and I competed in debate in high school,” Vergis said.
Golden Apple award winners from other UA schools received their awards throughout the week of April 16th. The other recipients of the award go as follows: Dr. Kevin Gorman (Director of Student Services), Dr. Julie Eirich (Wickliffe), Shannon Hemmelgarn (Windermere), Jana Holland (Greensview), Bobby Huffman (Tremont), Janielle McKee (Barrington), Josh Clemmons (Jones,) and Kyle Evans (Hastings).