By Michelle Manchir
Source Chicago Tribune
John Paulett leads almost all of his classes at Fenwick High School while the students sit in chairs formed in a circle. It’s a way that provokes discussion and critical thinking for some of the tough topics he tackles in his theology classes at the Catholic school in Oak Park, he said.
His students stood up from those chairs Thursday morning to applaud Paulett as he became one of 10 Chicago-area high school teachers honored this year with a Golden Apple Award. Each year, the award puts a spotlight on the area’s top teachers.
Paulett, 62, stood motionless when school administrators, representatives from the Golden Apple Foundation, his wife and his adult daughter surprised him with the award during a moral theology class.
“My class knows I’m very rarely at any kind of loss for words, but I’m really overcome,” he said, his voice breaking with emotion. “I’m so delighted.”
Paulett was one of 510 teachers nominated from the Chicago area this year. The winners are chosen based on their contributions to “building a stronger, better-educated citizenry,” according to the foundation’s website.
Nominated by students, parents or colleagues and then vetted by foundation staff and volunteers, Golden Apple Award recipients receive a $3,000 cash award and a tuition-free spring quarter sabbatical to study at Northwestern University.
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