Silver Apple Award 2012 2013 Esmerelda Ramos

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PHOENIX -- Visit the classroom of any great teacher and you'll find a whirlwind of energy and enthusiasm. That's what we found in Mrs. Ramos' room at Riverbend Prep in Laveen. But first, we surprised her with the Silver Apple Award in front of the whole school.

"I love all my kids, all the kids that had me in the past," Ramos said. "I'm very honored."

Along with every apple is a check for $500 for the teacher to use in their classroom, courtesy of Ace Air.

Deserving teachers are always nominated by a student who has felt a tremendous impact from the educator. Fourth-grade student Marckus Dan nominated Ramos because in her classroom learning is exciting.

"Some teachers just sit down and write the stuff on the board for what we have to do, but she's not that kind of teacher," Marckus said.

Students of Riverbend Prep Academy agree she is a top teacher.

Ramos is one of eight teachers in Arizona who win the Silver Apple Award each year. Thousands of letters pour into the station nominating Arizona's best educators. After multiple judging sessions, nominations are narrowed down to the winning teachers. Every teacher is surprised at his or her school and recognized for the exemplary commitment to changing the lives of Arizona students.