MARSHALL COUNTY, W.Va. (WTRF) — One teacher was called in on her day off, all in recognition for what she did years ago.

Summer break has made it a little difficult to surprise teachers in the classroom. So for July’s Golden Apple Awards, we coordinated with Central Elementary’s principal. Katie Dantrassy called in Nicole Hess to look over ‘data.’ Instead, Mrs. Hess was met with a check for $250 and a new title.

Well, I haven’t looked over data yet. But I got some stuff done in my room and I got a big surprise, so I guess it (the day) is going alright!

Nicole Hess, Golden Apple Awards Winner

While the countdown is on for the next school year, we reminded a fifth grade teacher of her impression she made on a family two years ago. 

Nominator Teri Toothman says her grandson Clayton, who is now heading into 7th grade, had Mrs. Hess when the pandemic turned fifth grade into video chats. 

Teri, who often eavesdropped during math lessons, calls Mrs. Hess “rare.”  

We took a bad situation and we made it good during COVID. These kids, they may not have got to see each other in person, but she made sure they saw each other on ZOOM.

Teri Toothman, Clayton’s grandma and nominator

“Well, you definitely learn more about your students teaching on ZOOM than you do in the classroom,” said Mrs. Hess. “I met everybody’s animals. I got tours of houses parents, eh, probably didn’t want me to see.” 

And what a first impression from Central Elementary’s new principal, who helped coordinate the surprise.

She was excited (about the data). It’s her summer and she was ready to come in and look at this with me. That alone tells you she’s committed to what she does.

Katie Dantrassy, Principal of Central Elementary

Mrs. Hess says every penny helps. And so the $250 from The Health Plan will go to flexible seating. 

That’s the ones who deserve the awards; the ones who don’t realize they’re special. They’re doing it because they love it.

My Clayton. She made a big difference in his life. And I just hope and pray that there can be others along his journey that can be as good as Mrs. Hess.

Teri Toothman, Clayton’s grandma and nominator

To nominate a teacher you think should be the next Golden Apple Awards winner, head here.