Highland Park Golden Apple Winner 2013

Опубликовано: May 3, 2013 в 9:50 pm



Caitlin Lucci took home the 2013 Highland Park Golden Apple Award. Lucci is a Kindergarten to 5th grade music teacher at Indian Trail school in Highland Park.

Indian Trail Elementary music teacher Caitlin Lucci recently received a sweet surprise from staff and students—a Golden Apple award from the Highland Park Community Foundation, which recognizes outstanding educators in Districts 112 and 113.

Nominees go through a rigorous process that includes completing an extensive application and having a team of observers in her classes.

An excerpt from her nomination packet stated that Lucci “is the consummate professional, a magician in her pedagogical approach. Her teaching methods are seamless and always with true purpose; her ability to motivate her students intrinsically is nothing short of awe-inspiring; her energy is infectious, engaging, and entertaining; the strong relationships she has formed with students, parents, colleagues, and the community are obvious from the moment her name is mentioned.”

Lucci, who has taught at Indian Trail for seven years, has two music education certifications in addition to her masters degree.

She is known for going above and beyond her classroom duties, including organizing a trip to the American Orff Schulwerk Association’s national conference in St. Louis in Nov. 2012, serving as student council advisor and overseeing charity projects.

At a recent surprise ceremony, Lucci was presented with a Golden Apple on a pedestal, a cash stipend and an iPad.

Semi-finalists for the Golden Apple award were Monica Biegal, a Braeside kindergarten teacher, and Oak Terrace first grade bilingual teacher Mayra Tristan.

2012 Represents a Five-fold Increase in Annual Grants

Опубликовано: December 31, 2012 в 9:53 pm



In 2012, the Foundation provided grants totaling $131,700 to 25 programs serving citizens of Highland Park and Highwood. Our goal is to provide funding for special programs and initiatives that otherwise would not have been funded. There were 2 new grant recipients for 2012, as indicated in the next sections.

Our grants apply to organizations in the following categories: Child Care, Social Services, Senior Services, Academic, Creative Arts, Hispanic/Latino and Civic organizations. As noted in the following sections, we have provided grants to several of these organizations for more than 10 years.

Over the past ten years, we’ve experienced a five-fold increase in the amount we have provided in annual grants. We thank our generous donors for allowing us to provide this additional support for the community.

Highland Park Golden Apple Winner 2012

Опубликовано: May 3, 2012 в 9:55 pm



“Kid Whisperer Earns Award For His Teaching Abilities” is how the headline reads in the Pioneer Press for this year’s award winner. Northbrook junior high school teacher Chris Janzen was select to receive the Highland Park Golden Apple for 2012.

To read the entire article as a PDF:

click here

Also read the announcement in the:

Highland Park Patch

2011 Foundation Awards go to 26 Agencies, and Total Over $116,000

Опубликовано: December 31, 2011 в 9:59 pm



For 2011, the Foundation awarded 26 agencies this fall a total value over $116,000.

Now more than ever, the monies raised by HPCF are crucual to the budgets of many struggling agencies whose state and federal funds have been severely slashed.

To read the announcement and hear about the grants in action:

click here

Highland Park Community Foundation 2010 Grants Total $119,900

Опубликовано: December 31, 2010 в 10:03 pm



The Foundation awarded grants totaling $119,900 to 29 programs serving cizens of Highland Park and Highwood.

The programs are described and grouped by category on the attached announcement. Four organizations were first time recipients.

To see the awards and announcement as a PDF:

click here

In 2011, the Highland Park Community Foundation honored Highland Park High School teacher Kunal Pujara with the first Highland Park Golden Apple Award!

Опубликовано: August 3, 2010 в 10:48 pm



In 2010, the HPCF and a local family foundation initiated an annual Highland Park Golden Apple Award to recognize outstanding teachers in the Highland Park school systems. By honoring an exceptional educator, the Foundation strives to demonstrate the strength and impact of excellent teaching in helping young people to reach their potential. The award winners will receive grant money, a laptop computer or iPad and recognition throughout the community.

Anyone who has experienced a graduation knows the moment is bittersweet– as students, we step off the stage now labeled “alumni” as our families fill with both pride and anxiety. Students leave the venue with diploma in hand and excitement in heart as we move forward into the next phase of life. Graduation didn’t sink in, for me, until July 18th (almost two months late!), the date of the school board meeting recognizing my physics teacher, Mr. Kunal Pujara, for winning the Golden Apple Award.

Although it seems like it goes by in the blink of an eye, high school is a long road for everyone. The ups and downs and twists and turns blur our abilities to truly appreciate the gift of education given to us (at least, they did for me). Until we have an opportunity to recognize it. I was one among many who nominated Mr. Pujara for the award for his outstanding teaching.

Because of Mr. Pujara, I’d like to say I gained a pretty good knowledge of physics and how the world works, but I also gained an invaluable perspective on perhaps some of the greatest, most effective teaching methods out there. And for that I am truly thankful. Further, Mr. Pujara invited his 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Louise Paris, to the ceremony, the one who inspired him with her teaching methods. She wrote, of the night, “When Kunal approached the podium with his Golden Apple Award, he diverted the attention from himself to me, reading his nomination essay that was all about his third grade teacher. Even during pictures, he insisted I be at his side holding the Golden Apple Award between us…With that being said, my teaching career has come full circle. That night offered a defining moment in my life, more than I could ever ask for…the realization that I truly made a difference in one child’s life…” From this, I can see why Mr. Pujara loved her so much, and furthermore, why he so deserves the award.

Fast forward. I’m in O’Hare airport with my mom and my brother Jonny, and I spotted a man carrying a bag with the Golden Apple logo on it. I asked the man if that bag was his, and he replied with a smile, “Yes. I’m Scott Reed, a Physics teacher at Niles North High School and I’m actually going to a conference right now on science educational standards.” Believing this in itself was a coincidence, I told him my Physics teacher too had won the Golden Apple Award this summer. Enthusiastically he said, “Kunal Pujara? I was on the committee that observed his classes. He really did deserve it. What a small world.” I agreed, and congratulated Mr. Reed again on his accomplishment.

It’s indeed a small world, but that’s not the only conclusion I’ve reached from this entire process of humble teachers and gilded fruit. My way of thanking Mr. Pujara for his incredible gifts to me was my nomination, and this caused him to thank his teacher (and I made an accidental connection to another amazing teacher!). To students out there– if you’ve had great teachers, it’s time to thank them. After annoying problem sets and chunky readings through which to churn, teachers give us the limitless gift of learning. Cheesy, perhaps, but true. Maybe I’ll be a teacher someday.

And you can see a student video with news about the award as well, beginning at 3 minutes and 15 seconds.

Watch video here