Children and Youth

Regional Crystal Apple Award Given to Two Local Teachers

Local teachers Donald (Chip) Gauvreau and Amanda McCraw were selected as two of this year's KSBW's Crystal Apple Award recipients due to being "remarkable and inspiring local teachers"

Each school year KSBW, a Salinas television station selects eight teachers from the Central Coast to be awarded the Crystal Apple Award. KSBW’s website says the award, “recognizes remarkable and inspiring local teachers.” Donald (Chip) Gauvreau of San Benito High School and Amanda McCraw of Jefferson Elementary School are two of this year’s recipients.

The Crystal Apple Award is based on a nomination process of people who have firsthand experience with the teacher who they nominate. The TV station then selects eight teachers throughout the school year who they believe demonstrate excellence in teaching to receive this award by showing up to the school site and presenting them with the award as the cameras roll.

As San Benito County Superintendent of Schools Krystal Lomanto said, “It is always exciting to have teachers from San Benito County recognized for their passion, hard work and commitment to our students.” Lomanto further said, “having teachers recognized from two different school districts is incredible. As a teacher, to be recognized by KSBW knowing how many other teachers are employed in San Benito and Monterey counties, is amazing and should be celebrated.”

Donald (Chip) Gauvreau- February Winner 

Gauvreau, who teaches AP Environmental Science and Biology at San Benito High School, was nominated by student Shelby O’Neil. In her nomination to KSBW O’Neil stated, “When I think of ideal teachers, Mr. Gauvreau would be top of the list. While AP Environmental Science can be challenging, Mr.Gauvreau teaches us through entertaining stories, provides life lessons of his 18 years of teaching. He really and truly cares that his students succeed.”

This sentiment was also expressed by Lomanto when she said, “Chip is enthusiastic and truly cares about his students. He engages his students by providing lessons that help students understand the difficult content. Chip’s passion for science is contagious and it shows in his classroom.”

When Dan Green of KSBW entered Gauvreau’s room to give him the award Gauvreau was “surprised.” As he stated, “Most teachers don’t do the job for any accolades, but to be chosen and recommended by a student was really nice.”

Just like O’Neil, Gauvreau was also inspired by teachers he had while at San Benito High School such as Mr.Keating and Mr.Vangerpen. This inspiration led him to pick teaching as his profession as he wanted to have a, “career where I can make a difference, especially with the environmental challenges facing our planet in the next 50 years.”

When asked about his favorite part of being a teacher, Gauvreau said, “My favorite parts are the ‘million dollar moments’ when you see a student who has struggled with a concept all of a sudden have an ‘aha’ moment and get it.”

Amanda McCraw- March Winner

Amanda McCraw, who is the sole K-8 teacher at Jefferson Elementary School in Paicines, was nominated for the Crystal Apple Award by her classroom aide Averi Regan. In her nomination to KSBW Regan said, “She fits in our school flawlessly and has brought a vibrant energy. She has put the ‘cheese on the cauliflower’ as the kids here say, even making dreaded math fun and interesting. Our days are filled with knowledge, understanding, and laughter. Late days and long hours are a necessity when planning for nine kids in six different grades. She does it all without complaint.”

In her nomination to KSBW Regan also explained the uniqueness of Jefferson Elementary School and why it made her believe that McCraw further deserved this award. “Jefferson School is a one room school house born in 1874 and built on prime ranching land. Our sweet little school is filled with character. In the fall we have calves being born across barbed wire fence. In the spring the local bobcat is a regular on the basketball court. The kids here are filled with creativity no doubt fueled by fresh air, horses, and wildflowers. Amanda McCraw has been the perfect addition to Jefferson.”

When asked if she could comment on McCraw as a teacher, Lomanto said, “Jefferson is a one-room classroom where Amanda teaches all grade levels (TK-8). Amanda does a fantastic job differentiating the content to meet the individual needs of each student. She is caring, engaging and dedicated!”

This dedication and focus on her students could be seen the day the TV crew stepped into McCraw’s classroom to film the segment. As McCraw said, “I was very focused on a new math concept I was teaching upper grades. When Dan Green and the crew walked in, I froze a little. I think I asked my students the same math question two or three times in a row.”

McCraw who grew up in Hollister said, “I’ve watched these awards be given out on TV for a huge portion of my life. It was an honor to receive one myself. Additionally, I’m thrilled with the attention Jefferson has received. It’s great to have people notice the school.”

When asked to recall how she has personally helped students grow, McCraw stated, “I’m really pleased that I’ve managed to convince many of my students that reading is a treat, not a chore. I hope that I’m helping them to view changes as a positive experience that they can learn from.”

Gauvreau’s footage of receiving his Crystal Apple Award for February can currently be seen on KSBW’s website. McCraw, who is the March award winner, will have her segment shown later this month.

Becky Bonner

Becky Bonner is a local teacher at San Benito High School who is passionate about sharing things to do in San Benito County.