MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. (WTRF) — A teacher for over two decades in Marshall County, is being recognized for the first time! For October’s Golden Apple Awards, one student is finally putting into words the impact this teacher has made on her life.

Mrs. Valerie Yarnell was surprised in Moundsville Middle School’s library for bringing students out of their shells.

Nominator Donna Rohrer says her daughter was one of those students.

“I’ve seen a big change and I don’t think I would have if she had a different teacher. She’s an awesome teacher. My daughter’s blossomed in the last couple years. I’ve never seen her so happy. She’s actually wanting to go to school. She’s also enjoying clubs and everything else now.” 

Donna Rohrer, Nominator and mother of student Amy

Teaching special education for 22 years in Marshall County, Mrs. Yarnell says she has never been recognized in this way for her hard work.

So, what makes her deserving of the Golden Apple Awards? Her student, Amy, was someone who could barely speak to kids in the hallway two years ago. That same student interviewed with a news camera on behalf of her dear teacher. 

“She seems to be able to get into the heart of people who are different from other people. To bring out their inner selves, to help them move on and vocalize more.” 

Amy Rohrer, eighth grader

Amy is a part of art club now, she attended her first dance and is achieving milestones that were once believed to be impossible. 

“I will be getting a job interview at McDonalds at four today,” added Amy.

“And do you think you would have ever had the courage to do something like this if it wasn’t for Mrs. Yarnell,” asked 7NEWS.

“No, not at all,” replied Amy.

“Mrs. Yarnell doesn’t just help them succeed inside the building. She also is helping them succeed outside of the building.” 

Rob Chavanak, Principal of Moundsville Middle School

Mrs. Yarnell was handed a check from The Health Plan for $250. Her students say she should spend it on whatever she wants.

“Honestly, being a classroom with behaviors. Sometimes just having a good day is great.” “Today, so far, is a great day.” 

Valerie Yarnell, Special Education Teacher at Moundsville Middle School

With Amy being an eighth grader, this is her last year with Mrs. Yarnell. She says she is not ready to leave, but Mrs. Yarnell trusts she is.  

And if you were wondering, Amy’s mother, Donna, tells 7NEWS that Amy nailed that job interview with McDonalds!

To nominate someone for the Golden Apple Awards, head here.