PHOENIX -- Hopefully, you all remember that special teacher who made a difference in your life, maybe even changed it.
Recognizing the extraordinary people who dedicate their lives to our children is what the Silver Apple award is all about. Although hundreds are nominated, only eight teachers receive the award each year.
Last week, I was honored to present a Silver Apple to a teacher, no an institution, at North High School in central Phoenix.
His name is Daniel Dodge and he has been inspiring and guiding students there for 24 years, since right out of college. Everyone calls him “Mr. North High” or, simply, “Dodge.”
Although Dodge teaches academic classes like social studies and history, his specialty is student government.
He told me he loves it because he’s able to see students grow over four years, not just one class.
Dodge emphasized his kids learn empathy, the importance of helping those who need it, how to plan, organize and execute, even how to create and stick with a budget -- all life skills that make his “kids” better citizens of the community, better employees or employers, and better parents.
From what we observed in the short time we spent at North, the students are as passionate about him as he is about them.
We always deeply appreciate the student who goes to the trouble of nominating a special teacher like Daniel Dodge. This time, it was a senior named Vincent Liu, who told us Dodge has been a second father to him, coming in early and staying late, doing whatever it takes to keep his students on the right track.
Vincent told us Dodge taught him about the importance of not taking himself too seriously, that life is too short not to be enjoyed, and helped him realize that grades are not the only thing students should be concerned about.
(An interesting aside: Vincent told me I presented a Silver Apple to his teacher in fifth grade and thought he might nominate a teacher one day. Made me feel old -- again.)
But be sure to watch "Good Evening Arizona" at 4:30 p.m. Friday, April 1, to see the great video we caught of a pie-throwing fundraiser. If you miss it then, you can always see it on azfamily.com.
Again, our congratulations to Daniel Dodge at North High!
Get more information about the Silver Apple award.