Silver Apple Class of 2011-12: Mark Rine

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PHOENIX - Teachers who face middle schoolers every day learn to expect the unexpected. It is a transformational age. One many teachers avoid. Not so for our latest Silver Apple award winner Mark Rine at Northwest Christian.

These eighth graders are budding adults. Making the huge leap from childhood navigating a sometimes painful period of rapid change mentally, physically and morally. Not all teachers are up to the challenge much less earning their student's love and respect. But veteran science teacher Mark Rine's winning approach is gentle and caring. He understands the many distractions that are his competition.

"Between their interest in sports and their growing interest in the opposite sex at this age, the pressures of home life and relationships with friends you just have to keep doing a variety of different things," said Mr. Rine. "We just got done building hot-air balloons recently where it gives them hands-on experiences and [an opportunity to use] their creativity."

Drew Inness said in his nomination letter he appreciates how hard Mr. Rine works to keep students attention making learning fun and action packed. "A few things we make include hot-air balloons, slingshots, catapults, telegraphs and we use lots of microscopes," said Drew. "I am a sports kid, not a science kid, but Mr. Rine makes it fun so everyone wants to come into his classroom and learn about science."

It made us want to recognize his efforts with a Silver Apple award. Our sponsor, Dr. Alex Bigham presented a $500 check from Novocur Pain Management Clinics.

Mr. Rine also told us he strives to make all of his students feel important because they are important.