Marie McDougald wins this week's Golden Apple

CALHOUN COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG) - Hurricane Michael destroyed Blountstown Elementary School forcing teachers and students to move to the middle school and high school buildings for the rest of the school year.

One teacher isn't letting this situation keep her from spreading joy in the classroom. Congratulations to Marie McDougald, this week's Golden Apple winner.

"I believe that the classroom should be a joy-filled place, sometimes we're that safe place, sometimes I'm that safe person for those kids and that's what I want to be, I want to make a difference in their lives," McDougald said.

Marie McDougald has been teaching for 13 years, but this year has been a little different.

Her second-grade class is now at Blountstown High School after the elementary school was torn apart by the hurricane.

"A lot of them lost their homes, some of them lost pets, they lost friends just due to having to relocate, we lost a lot of classmates, and I felt honored to be there and to help them work through that," McDougald said.

McDougald left corporate America to become a teacher for that very reason, to make a difference in the community and give back.

"I've always loved kids and I always seemed to have a knack for it and always put in those positions, so it was a natural step to go into teaching school," McDougald said.

The second-grade curriculum covers a lot of material, so McDougald makes the classroom a fun place to learn to keep the students engaged.

"They are seven and eight-year-old and they learn best when they can touch it, sometimes when they can taste it, we cook a lot if I can get them engaged if I can get their brains thinking while their hands are working, they've got it," McDougald said.

She's spreading joy in the classroom every day and helping her students excel no matter the circumstance.

Tell us who your favorite teacher is, nominate a teacher for the Golden Apple, by clicking on the Golden Apple tab on our homepage. The winner for each week will be announced every Thursday.