PALMYRA-MACEDON, N.Y. (WROC) — Congratulations to this week’s Golden Apple winner, Kayla Osika! 

Osika is a vocal music teacher at Palmyra-Macedon High School and her love of music began at a young age. 

“Like a lot of students, you find your place in school and for me, that was a music classroom,” Osika said. “I took piano lessons since I was very young, I had to beg my parents to do it, and eventually they gave in, but I had some great teachers and I felt comfortable in school, so I wanted to make the career of it.”

Osika has worked in the Pal-Mac school district for seven years, but this is her first year full-time at the high school.

She’s played a key role in helping students grow creatively, while reminding them it’s always okay to be yourself. 

“Kayla joined us last year from our middle school, so she already had the relationships with our students, which has been absolutely a delight,” said Principal Andrew Wall.

“Just a fun fact is we had our holiday concert and about 12 hours later, Kayla became a mother,” Wall said. “So talk about a tough young lady and very busy, and as I said, the connections with kids, the relationship is really amazing.”

He added that now more than ever, students need outlets like music to express themselves, something Osika helps them do. 

“It’s a way in which they can find their talents, take a deep breath and just see inside themselves that other talent and be able to express that talent,” Wall said. 

10th grader Maggie Gardner is one student Osika has formed a special bond with.

“She’s just an amazing teacher and person. She’s always here for all of her students, no matter what,” Gardner said. “We all love her very much.”

Gardner is in Osika’s Pal-Mac Select Chorus group and says Osika has helped her grow a lot as a singer.

“I’ve definitely improved a lot more as a singer, I think I owe a lot of that to her because she’s taught me a lot,” Gardner said. “If we’re having a bad day, she always makes it better and she’s always encouraged us to do our best whether it’s for performance, or it’s just something going on in our lives.”

For Osika’s dedication to her students, Gardner nominated her for a Golden Apple Award through News 8. While the recognition was music to Osika’s ears, it was also a big surprise.  

“I never would have imagined in a million years. So it’s quite the honor. I hope I live up to it,” she said. “These kids, they’re amazing. And it was hard after having a baby to come back and to make that transition, but the minute I got here and I saw them… it was home. They’re great.”

Congratulations to Mrs. Osika! Thank you for all you do in our community. 

If you know a teacher you’d like to nominate for a Golden Apple Award, fill out a nomination form here