WEBSTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Congratulations to this week’s Golden Apple winner, Jillian Sweeney!

Sweeney has been a school nurse at Webster Schroeder High School for four years.

“I think that school nurses are uniquely positioned to help kiddos and connect with them in a way that we can’t do in other areas of nursing because of the standard amount of time we get to spend with them over years,” Sweeney said. “I love it. It’s the best.”

Paul Benz, the Principal of Webster Schroeder High School, said Sweeney is a “wonderful person” and is compassionate and kind to everyone.

“She has the heart of a champion and is student-centered, and is someone who we look to in cases of emergency, obviously, but she’s probably the most calm person when she’s on her feet,” Benz said.

Sweeney helped keep students and staff safe during the COVID pandemic, but she has also been a listening ear for numerous kids throughout the years.

“I had a hard time in high school with my mental health and whenever I needed anything, whenever I needed a safe place to go, I could always rely on going to the school nurse,” said Alexis Smith, a recent grad. “She (Sweeney) would talk with me, whether it was a personal problem or an academic problem, she was always there for me.”

Smith said that Sweeney made it so she didn’t feel alone and when things got overwhelming at school, she always had someone she could turn to.

“I don’t know if I can express in words how much she meant to me, how much her support meant to me, and I know that her welcoming presence was very helpful to other students as well,” Smith said. “I think having that kind of person on staff, and at a high school especially, is just so wonderful.”

For all Sweeney’s efforts, Smith decided to nominate her for a Golden Apple Award through News 8.

“I just I think she’s an amazing school nurse and she goes above and beyond, and I’m so happy that she’s getting this award,” Smith said.

Principal Benz called Smith a “rock star” and said it was fitting to recognize her after the last two years of the pandemic.

“Like every couple of weeks, it seemed like something new was coming out. Jillian was on top of it every step of the way,” Benz said. “We recognized her last year during the school year too, so I’m so pleased that a student also saw that same thing and heard that we see her. She has a heart of a champion and always comes in with a smile on her face.”

Sweeney was surprised to receive a Golden Apple, but for those that know her… it makes perfect sense.

“I didn’t even know nurses could get them, but it means a lot. It makes me feel like what I’m doing really matters and it makes it that much more special,” Sweeney said.

Congratulations to Jillian Sweeney for winning a Golden Apple Award!

If you know a teacher you’d like to nominate for this award, you can find nomination forms by clicking here.