MARTINS FERRY, Ohio (WTRF) — Has anyone ever asked you to name a few of your favorite teachers?

You quickly respond saying, “Mrs. Jones was my favorite, ” or “I just loved Mr. Green. What a teacher!”

This teacher is somebody you absolutely adore, someone who has left an indelible mark in your mind years after you left their classroom.

Vibrant, valuable and well-versed are just a few words that would best describe art teacher Mrs. Courtney Vilano, January’s Golden Apple Award recipient.

“I know that some of my students need that little extra bit of time and energy from me and I just want to make sure that I see that and I dedicate that time that they need as well as to everybody else in the room.”

Mrs. Courtney Vilano, Golden Apple Award Recipient

Martins Ferry Principal Chaz Yoder says Mrs. Vilano really cares deeply for her students and they feel the same way.

“You never hear her complain. Always volunteers to do things, and in general we’re pretty lucky in the middle school at Ferry. Most of the teachers are like that, but she does go above and beyond.”

Chas Yoder, Martins Ferry Middle School Principal

Vilano is about to go on maternity leave as she approaches her ninth month, but she is still full steam ahead.

With a plethora of paint, plenty of paintbrushes and paint pallets these next nine weeks are underway, Mrs. Vilano’s art students get a lesson in watercolor painting techniques.

“Well, she’s a really good teacher. She explains things really well. She’s very hands on with her students.”

Maribelle Blount, art student

“She explains things well, and she tells us what to do step-by-step so we don’t get confused.”

Mia McCormack, art student

Mrs. Vilano creates a safe space for these 5th and 6th, 7th and eighth graders, all 300 of them this year.

“They probably just like to be in the space. In the space they know I’ll talk to them about anything or if they have an idea that’s really been itching to do something. I’m always open to that.”

Mrs. Courtney Vilano, Golden Apple Award Recipient

To her, these students are more than just their project.

She invests in them and the feeling is mutual.

She leaves her mark on them and they on leave their mark on her.

This is permanent.

“I try to get to know each one the best as I can and just ask them about themselves, see what they need, if they need to talk anything like that. Just offer a space for them to come to and be comfortable in.”

Mrs. Courtney Vilano, Golden Apple Award Recipient

She has forever changed them, making an impression on their canvas of life, instilling in them as many life lessons as she can.

“I always tell them I wish you the best. My door is always open. Life is not always easy and we’ve all had to deal with that, but if you ever need an ear that I’m here.”

Mrs. Courtney Vilano, Golden Apple Award Recipient

Her students are hoping she spends her $500 dollar gift card she received from the Health Plan on more art supplies.

Mrs. Vilano agrees the school supplies are a good idea, but also says she may use some of the money to buy some candy because she enjoys handing it out to her students.