Silver Apple Class of 2011-12: Karen Martin

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PHOENIX -- Learning a second language can be a challenging, even intimidating, experience and the right teacher can make all the difference. We take you to Horizon High School in Scottsdale for our latest Silver Apple award.

Communication in high school is hard enough without introducing a foreign language. Just ask Kari Lawson.

"I needed a lot of help. My first two years in high school I struggled in Spanish a lot," Lawson said. "It always has been one of my hardest subjects."

But Kari was in luck her third year. Mrs. Karen Martin gave her the one-on-one attention she needed.

"She taught me a lot of Spanish but the main thing I gained from her class was confidence," Lawson said.

"I think confidence is part of what I try to instill in students more than just the information and Kari just needed the confidence to know that she had the information and she could work with it," Martin said.  "She is the one who did the work. She came in for the extra help. She came in with her questions and I just kept guiding her to do what I knew she could do."

Martin also hopes to guide these young minds to a greater cultural awareness to see the world not just through an American lens. It's a mentally and physically demanding job that she obviously loves.

"I want them to see all the talents and the good that is within them and help bring that out," Martin said. "For them to pursue what they want to in their lives."

Patti Kirkpatrick and our Silver Apple sponsor, Dr. Alex Bigham, recently surprised Martin in her classroom with the Silver Apple trophy and a $500 check from Novocur Pain Management Clinics.

Martin said her students give her hope for our future. It is teachers like her who are making that dream a reality.