Panama City - This week's Golden Apple Award winner teaches social studies at Rutherford High School. Students and colleagues alike say longtime teacher Mrs. Jeaneen Boutwell has the perfect personality for teaching high school: firm when she needs to be and funny enough to be memorable.
How do you get high schoolers interested in history? Talk up the drama. "I give them the good gossipy things about the different kings and queens or the dictators and they enjoy that. It makes history alive, it's what it's all about," said Janeen Boutwell.
Mrs. Boutwell was nominated by not one, not two, but three students who share her love for history. They say her story-telling skills help set her apart. "The stories are what makes it easy to remember, knowing that that person exists like we do and we are all human and we all make errors," said Olivia Meadows, one of the students who nominated Mrs. Boutwell. "She makes connections from the past to things that have recently happened," said Niral Patel, another one of the students who nominated Mrs. Boutwell.
Amidst the posters of historical figures, M&M memorabilia makes an unexpected appearance. "Almost all the memorabilia in the classroom has been given to me by students." It's an historical documentation of another kind, proof of appreciation for a teacher who's making a lasting impression on her students. "She is a very challenging teacher. She tries to get the most out of you," said Rutherford Assistant Principal Doug Lee.
Congratulations to Mrs. Boutwell, this week's Golden Apple award winning teacher. "I look around here at Rutherford and I see several teachers I taught and it's always exciting to know that you have had that impact."