Chicago teacher gets 'Golden Apple'

May 9, 2012 2:34:10 PM PDT
Wednesday morning, Governor Pat Quinn surprised Elizabeth Luna, a kindergarten teacher at Murray Language Academy, with a 2012 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching.

"Elizabeth Luna is the best of the best," said Quinn. "It is so inspiring seeing the kids flock to her. They know a great teacher when they see one. It is important to recognize great teachers in Illinois."

"It is an honor. And I feel it is just a beginning for me to be a part of the Golden Apple community," said Luna.

Luna began teaching in 2003 as a substitute, leaving the restaurant industry for a second career in education.

Luna is passionate about early education. She is one of 10 teachers to win the award. Hundreds were considered.

"Elizabeth is wonderful. She makes learning fun. She makes it impactful. She is passionate about what she does," said parent and local school council member Sheila Wesonga.

"It is a wonderful honor that will last a lifetime for her," said Murray Language Academy Principal Greg Mason. "It will be a shining honor so that when she walks through the halls of the school we will look at her in a different way. We will say we have a Golden Apple winner."

The principal says Luna's win will create an inspiration for other teachers who will say "I want to be like Ms. Luna."

Each Golden Apple winner receives a six-month sabbatical to study at Northwestern as well as a $3,000 cash award.

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