The Golden Apple goes to Johnny Vallas

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - This week's Golden Apple winner brings the world to his classroom. Congratulations to Johnny Vallas at Holy Nativity School.

When asked about their teacher Mr. Vallas, most student's said something like Chappell Syfrett who commented: "Mr. Vallas is one of the greatest teachers I've ever met."

After 28 years of teaching at Bay High School, Vallas decided to retire. He soon found retirement didn't suit him.

"I got a little antsy and bored," explained Vallas.

Then came a phone call from Judy Hughes, the Head of Holy Nativity School, and just like that Vallas was back in the classroom sharing his experience and knowledge with a new generation.

"His passion is very infectious," said Hughes. "The children pick right up on it."

Vallas grew up in a bilingual household with Greek parents and has traveled the world. His first-hand accounts of far off places, people, and cultures fascinate his students.

"He brings the world to the children," said Hughes.

"One of the most important things for me to teach children is tolerance and understanding of people from different backgrounds, different religions, different races, and to be accepting of all people," said Vallas.

Asa Anderson, an eighth-grade student at Holy Nativity said he nominated Vallas for the award because "he's just changed how I look at learning and made me want to learn more."

If you'd like to nominate a teacher for the Golden Apple award, click on the "Golden Apple" tab on our website.