Golden Apple: Congratulations to Michael Billotti

Golden Apple

HILTON, N.Y. (WROC) — Congratulations to our next Golden Apple Award winner, Michael Billotti! 

Billotti has been teaching literature in our community for more than 10 years and he’s made a big impact on many of his students at Merton Williams Middle School in Hilton. 

Marc D’Amico, the Principal of Merton Williams Middle School, said Billotti is passionate about literature and goes the extra mile to make learning more enjoyable for students.

“He is a reader and he is very active in the young adult literature circles, so he has connections with authors and he’s able to utilize that to show kids wide array of literature so that they can kind of find themselves reflected in literature,” D’Amico said.  

Billotti started teaching 7th-12th grade students after he decided he wanted to help kids figure out who they want to be. 

“That was something that as a kid, I didn’t really know. So I thought this was an opportunity to help young people figure out who they wanted to be and what was their place in the world,” he said. 

A big focus of his teaching? Making connections.  

“He’s always looking for ways to bring professionals into the classroom, just to talk about the craft and to connect. He runs project lit club here at the school to just get students connected in a larger conversation about young adult lit. So he really lives and breathes literature and you can tell that and he does it every day,” D’Amico said. 

For all his efforts as a teacher, Billotti won a Golden Apple Award. Two of his 8th grade students, Lilah Mastin and Nolan Klein, nominated him for the recognition.

“I think that Mr. Billotti is just like not only good at what he does as a teacher, but he’s also a good person. And he just seems to get something that a lot of teachers don’t get, and it’s that even though we are kids, and we are his students, we deserve the same amount of respect as we would give him,” Mastin said. “I feel like it gives me a sense of dignity. And like when I walk into his classroom, I know that I am as equal as a person as he is.”

Klein said he wasn’t someone who really liked to read until he met Mr. Billotti and he recommended some good books. 

“I was a kid that didn’t really like going to school last year because like the on-and-off remote learning. And this year that I’m here with him more and like got to know him more, it’s made me feel really comfortable in this class. And it’s probably like my favorite part of the day,” Klein said. 

Billotti said his students are the best part about his job and he was honored some of them nominated him for this recognition. 

“It means a lot to know that you’re making an impact, that kids have an attachment to the place, to the people that are here. It just makes my day, it’s great,” Billotti said. 

Thank you for all your hard work Mr. Billottti! 

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

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