Our Crystal Apple Awards are a celebration of teachers, and Wednesday’s celebration took a little work to pull off.
Leigh Mills, Ann Renn, Deb Janke and Tyler Greenwood
We honored not one, but two educators who made an impact on a student at Baraboo High School nearly two decades ago.
Leigh Mills said, “Your Baraboo High School Crystal Apple winner, Mrs. Ann Renn! Ann Renn, come on!”
“It’s just heartwarming. I truly love my job and every piece of every person that’s in this building,” said Ann Renn.
“I have something we’ve never done before. I actually have a second Crystal Apple, and this actually goes to Mrs. Deb Janke,” said Mills.
Deb Janke and Ann Renn were two Baraboo High School counselors for six years starting in the late 90’s.
One of their then students nominated them both for saving his life.
“I was not a terrible kid, just a terrible student,” said Tyler Greenwood.
Greenwood went on to say, “My sophomore year, we realized that I was not going to graduate on time if at all, and these two amazing ladies truly believed in me."
Greenwood did graduate six months after his classmates.
He went on to become a firefighter and paramedic, but it wasn’t until years later that he realized how much their extra effort impacted his life.
“Somehow this kid who everyone, literally everyone doubted is saving lives, and I owe it to them,” said Greenwood.
“I don’t know that there’s anything better than that, quite frankly, I think that’s the best job and the best thing anybody could ever say,” said Deb Janke.
Renn explains, “It’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that he really believes that this impacted the rest of his life and what he does for people, but we knew that about Tyler. We could tell that Tyler had it in him."
And while he saves lives, Tyler calls them the real heroes.
Greenwood said, “Because they believed in my life, today I save lives."
“I have never lost hope in any of the students that have gone through the high school or the school district, and I thank you all for being part of my life and growth as an educator,” said Renn.
Janke added, “When somebody reaches out to you and they want to help you, they do it because they genuinely care so keep that in mind. There’s always somebody here for everybody. Just find that person and live up to your potential."
Ann has been a school counselor at Baraboo High School for 24 years.
Deb moved into administration and is now the principal at Lomira High School, but they’ve remained dear friends over the years.
This week we also recognize 10 area teachers with an honorable mention.
Our fifth one is Ryan Petersen, the band director at Deerfield Middle and High School. He received a whole stack of nominations for his dedication to Deerfield and his ability to unlock a passion for music in his students.
Our sixth one is Eric Brehm, a social studies teacher at Wisconsin Dells High School. He created a club based on kindness and introducing new classes including "social problems" and "women's studies".