Pauline Silco, Harris Hill Elementary School

Would you quit work if you won the lottery? Our News 8 Golden Apple Award winner didn't. And students and staff at Harris Hill Elementary School in Penfield are thankful. Tonight we surprise Pauline Silco.

Mrs. Silco has been a devoted teacher at Harris Hill Elementary School in Penfield for almost 36 years. She was nominated by Marlene Nesselbush. "It's evident she has a strong passion for teaching if you see her in the classroom. So I wasn't surprised this past summer when I found out her husband won the lottery but she decided to come back to Harris Hill because of her passion."

You heard her right. Last summer, Pauline's husband Ed Silco won a million dollar scratch off ticket. Not long after that lottery announcement Marlene's daughter Nina, who had Mrs. Silco in 3rd grade, found out who her teacher was going to be this year for fifth grade. "When I opened my letter to find out I had Mrs. Silco I felt like I had won the lottery just like Mr. Silco."

Nesselbush family wanted shock Mrs. Silco with something almost as big as winning the lottery, a News 8 Golden Apple Award! When we walked in Pauline couldn't believe it. "I'm overwhelmed, I'm just so shocked, this is wonderful. I see teachers on the TV and I thought they must be really special to get the award and I never thought it would happen to me."

Principal Marc Nelson says the most important lesson Mrs. Silco teaches is the importance of helping others. "The things behind the scenes nobody sees are what define Mrs. Silco. She is a person who will show up with a card or a hug or a handshake when nobody else is watching. That's what she's about."

Pauline says "You have to pay back. I've been very fortunate and I feel like I should share my fortune with others."

Pauline Silco is a News 8 Golden Apple Award winner. You can read the letter we received from the Nesselbush family below.

Dear News 8,

Nina had Mrs. Silco in third grade and was extremely excited to find out she has her again for fifth grade. It is always terrific to get a teacher that loves to teach and this describes Mrs. Silco. Her passion for teaching became even more apparent after learning that her husband recently won $1M in a lottery but she has decided to continue working at Harris Hill. Her students benefit from this enthusiasm and the way it is utilized in the classroom. 

Mrs. Silco creates a safe environment so that students take risks and participate frequently. For positive behavior, students can earn "lunch buddy." This means that Mrs. Silco has lunch with the student being rewarded. Due to her wonderful nature, the students find this very motivating. Her students take turns being "Star of the Week" and bringing in posters about themselves to share with the class. One of the other activities for this week is to have the "Star" student's parents send in a letter, video or poem to be read to the class. Nina especially likes the way Mrs. Silco has monthly themes for book report assignments (eg: mystery, career, Holiday, poetry, and biography). Nina had a great time reading about Teddy Roosevelt and dressing to look like him when presenting her book report to the class.

These are some of the ways that Mrs. Silco has made her students realize that they are special and to encourage them to work to their full potential.


Marlene and Nina Nesselbush

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