ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Congratulations to our next Golden Apple Award winner, Ann O’Connell!
Ann has been an educator in our community for 47 years, spending most of her time as a Spanish teacher at Bishop Kearney High School.
“She was just born to teach, people just say she almost is Bishop Kearney High School,” said Michael O’Connell, Ann’s husband.
Michael and Ann both went to Bishop Kearney, as did their children. Michael nominated his wife for a Golden Apple Award, saying she was born to be a teacher.
“We’ve been married for a long time, and I’ve seen how, while we went to college together, how much that was what she wanted to do. She wanted to do nothing else. And all the years she’s gone through Kearney, I’ve seen how she’s touched students lives, how much she’s put into this, not only in the classroom, but in extracurricular activities,” Michael said.
Michael added that Ann’s biggest accomplishment was being a moderator in the mid 1990s of five-time world champion Color Guard. He said this is what Ann is known for around the United States.
“She deserves this award,” Michael said. “She’s willing to meet students anytime, before school, after school.”
Over the years, Ann has taught some well-known Rochesterians, including NBA Player Thomas Bryant from the Washington Wizards and former News 8 anchor, Maureen McGuire.
“She thought each one of us was the very best. I mean it, each one of us. And as a result, everyone of us gave her our very best. Ann, each one of us in the class of ’79 loves you, we consider you our dear friend and we wish you all the best,” McGuire said.
When News 8 presented Ann with the award, she was at a loss for words, something she said she’s never experienced while teaching.
“Thank you so much. I for once in my life, am speechless,” she said. “I’m overwhelmed. I just am overwhelmed. Thank you so very much.”
Ann said she became a teacher because she felt like there was a mission to inspire kids to do be able to do the best that they can.
“That’s what we try to teach them all to do, to be better citizens, not only to be good students, to be better to be better citizens,” Ann said.
She added that one of her favorite things of being a teacher is seeing students understand the lessons she is teaching.
“To teach something that they don’t understand and all of a sudden to see the light go on and say, ‘Oh, I’ve got it.’ That would be the most amazing thing,” Ann said. “And when they come back after they’ve graduated and come to see you and say, ‘Oh, I’m so glad I took this and you made a change in my life and it’s always important.”
After dedicating her life to Bishop Kearney, Ann is retiring after 47 years this upcoming summer. Her coworkers and students will be sad to see her go, but are appreciative of all she’s done for their school community.
“Ann is a wonderful, wonderful teacher, has spent a career and a lifetime dedicated to students. The success of students is unmatched by any other teacher that I’ve ever had a chance to work with,” said Keith Miller, the Assistant Principal at Bishop Kearney High School.
Stephen Strauss, the Athletic Director and Assistant Principal at Bishop Kearney, had Ann for study hall when he was in high school.
“Teachers go beyond just the curriculum and that’s what Ann’s been so great at over the years. The relationship she has the kids, impact culturally, just being able to help open kids eyes to what is out there in the world and she’s been phenomenal reaching out with them,” Strauss said.
Congratulations on winning a Golden Apple Award, Ann! Thank you for all your efforts in our community.
If you know a teacher you’d like to nominate for a Golden Apple Award, you can fill out a form by clicking here.