Southport Elementary School Teacher Wins Golden Apple Award

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Panama City - This week's Golden Apple award winner teaches fifth grade at Southport Elementary School. Catherine Merritt says she loves to see the joy on her students faces when they understand a concept for the first time.

Southport Elementary uses Kagan Cooperative Learning Structure Strategies to help students make strides in reading. Implementing these strategies came naturally for 5th grade teacher Mrs. Merritt whose enthusiasm and encouraging spirit helps students thrive. "She is the most awesomest teacher I have ever had. She can teach you like no other teacher can," said Piper Streichert, a 5th grader. "She has alot of imagination and she is really funny," said fellow student Tucker Stock. "She is strict but she is not too strict," said another student, Elizabeth Barfield.

Mrs. Merritt changed the way she teaches math a few years ago, now she uses stations to help differentiate instruction and do what's most effective for each student. "I get to see firsthand right away which students get the math and which students don't and who needs my extra help," said Mrs. Merritt.

Colleagues say Mrs. Merritt is known for her passion for classroom service projects. "They are doing a collection for the Humane Society for animal shelters, they are recycling printer ink cartridges. She uses competition to motivate her students. They are always the winners that have the most students participate at our skating parties. She is just an exciting and motivating teacher," said Southport Elementary Principal Dianne Miller.

"I love having a job that I get to wake up every morning wanting to come to work," said Mrs. Merritt. Congratulations to Mrs. Merritt, this week's Golden Apple award winning teacher. "She totally deserved it," said Piper.