Special education teacher battling cancer honored with Golden Apple Award

By  | 

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- For the second straight year, WEAU 13 News is partnering with the Eau Claire Public Schools Foundation to honor one educator from all 20 public schools in the district with a Golden Apple Award.

Thursday’s Golden Apple Award recipient takes us to Sam Davey Elementary School in Eau Claire to honor a special education teacher who is battling cancer.

Sam Davey Principal Bill Giese presented the Golden Apple Award to Katie Haugen’s co-workers: Christine Rivers and Katie Simonson. Haugen was diagnosed with cancer a year ago, her battle now, with stage-four melanoma, prevents her from going to school to teach her special education students.

Simonson read this statement from Haugen who says it is an honor to work at Sam Davey.

"I loved coming to work every day to a wonderful staff and amazing students. I've enjoyed teaching and helping students over the past 11 years. Even though I'm not physically at work, every day I continue to support and think about the staff and students."

The staff at Sam Davey and the community helped raise money for Haugen's family last year, a fundraiser called the Haugen Hustle. It was their way of showing support for a teacher and friend who has had a positive impact on so many.

"Her impact does not go unnoticed. She brightens the school every time she's here and the kids love her, staff love her, she has a way of bringing everyone together,” said Rivers.
"She's one of the most selfless people I've ever met, she gives all day at school and then she does respite care, she's a Special Olympics coach and continues to help kids even at home now giving me advice on how to help,” said Simonson.

It was her students who best summed up Haugen's impact on their lives.

"She always makes me smile and she's the best teacher in the whole wide world,” said Nicholas.

"Helped me read and helped me get better at sounding out words and getting them right and she helped me with everything,” said Caden.