Jinks Middle School Social Studies Teacher Wins Golden Apple

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PANAMA CITY- This week's Golden Apple award winner teaches social studies at Jinks Middle School in Panama City. Tracy Caruso was nominated by a student who writes: "Mrs.Caruso just makes learning very enjoyable. She is so funny and upbeat that she makes any bad day instantly better."

Students say social studies teacher Mrs. Caruso can turn a difficult day into something fantastic. "She is the highlight of most students' days I've noticed," said Rebecca Espinola, who nominated Mrs. Caruso. "It's hard to have a bad day when you have her as a teacher," she said. "I can't believe this is my job," said Mrs. Caruso, tearing up. "I'm getting upset. I can't believe that this is what I get paid to do. I'm blessed," she said.

Students and colleagues alike say her enthusiasm is contagious. "She loves her kids and she is committed to their success," said Principal Britt Smith. "She does whatever it takes to make certain that they are able to achieve their highest potential. The kids understand why she is there and what she is trying to do and they respond very well to her," he said.

She uses all kinds of teaching strategies to keep her students engaged. "Social studies can be so boring so I try to do different things on different days and keep them on their toes," said Mrs. Caruso. Her efforts are paying off. "She makes the classroom visual and easy for us to learn in. She makes sure that we learn and get our education very well," said 8th grader Shamiracle Ross. "We do role-playing activities where we have to come up with a script. They make posters. I also do paper & pencil tests. I try to show them real-world things to relate to what we are doing. And It's awesome when a kids comes in and they say "Oh I understand what you were talking about, I get it," said Mrs. Caruso.

Congratulations to Mrs. Caruso, this week's Golden Apple award winning teacher. "It doesn't matter what kind of a mood you go in there with, you are going to leave there laughing," said Rebecca.