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Glendale special-ed teacher works to ‘be the light’ in students’ lives

Silver Apple is sponsored by Arizona Bank and Trust.
“I think it means I am making a difference, and that’s the best part,” Morgan Novelli said.
Published: Mar. 2, 2022 at 9:12 AM MST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2022 at 9:35 AM MST
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GLENDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- When Arizona’s Family surprised high school teacher Morgan Novelli with a Silver Apple Award for excellence in education, we had no idea the impact it would have on her. Ms. Morgan, as her students at Autism Academy in Glendale call her, is a second-year educator.“It means everything,” she said. “Honestly, it means more because I went through something last week. My grandpa passed away, and he was my biggest advocate for teaching special education. So, I wish he could see this, but he’s up there seeing it right now. It means more than I can express.”

It was her grandpa’s words that pushed her toward her calling. “I think the words I remember most is to ‘Just be the light. Be the light in people’s lives,’” she said.

Morgan Novelli is a high school teacher at Autism Academy in Glendale.
Morgan Novelli is a high school teacher at Autism Academy in Glendale.(Arizona's Family)

Judging by the essay written by student Skylar Camblin, Ms. Morgan is the light. “I have autism, and, like others in my class, Ms. Morgan has been a positive impact on our education,” Skylar said. “During COVID 2020, I was online. It was difficult, but she offered remarkable support during the time of learning. She would take time to explain any worries I had with any subject, making learning much easier.”

“That’s amazing,” Novelli responded. “That’s amazing. Can I give her a hug? Thank you.”

With the help of our partners at Arizona Bank & Trust, the Silver Apple is much more than a molded trophy. It comes with a $1,000 check. All of this is meant to recognize Novelli for the amazing impact she’s had in her students’ lives.

The Silver Apple Award comes with a $1,000 checked from Arizona Bank & Trust.
The Silver Apple Award comes with a $1,000 checked from Arizona Bank & Trust.(Arizona's Family)

“I think it means I am making a difference, and that’s the best part,” Novelli said. “A lot of times, we can get in a rut and not know if we’re making a difference or not. But hearing these words, you know how much of a difference you are making. And just telling your students how much you love them and care for them, that might be the only time they hear it that day. I think that’s the biggest thing I want them to know, how proud I am of them every single day.”

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Morgan Novelli, Ms. Morgan to her students, listens as the Skylar reads the essay she sent us.
Morgan Novelli, Ms. Morgan to her students, listens as the Skylar reads the essay she sent us.(Arizona's Family)
Morgan Novelli, a high school teacher at Autism Academy in Glendale, is the latest recipient of...
Morgan Novelli, a high school teacher at Autism Academy in Glendale, is the latest recipient of the Silver Apple Award.(Arizona's Family)