South Middle School Band Teacher receives Golden Apple Award

Published: Feb. 1, 2022 at 7:33 AM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The Eau Claire Public Schools Foundation along with WEAU is proud to hand out a Golden Apple Award to an awesome band teacher now in her 32nd year inspiring musicians at South Middle School. Students say they love this teacher’s energy and passion.

“Every year one teacher is selected from each school to win a Golden Apple Award. And one teacher that I’m about to present this to is South’s winner. Can anybody guess who that is? Mrs. Olsen!”

South Middle School principal Trevor Kohlhepp presented band director Lori Olsen with the Golden Apple Award. Mrs. Olsen has been teaching music to students at South for more than three decades. Lori says receiving the Golden Apple is special because of how important the arts are in providing her kids with a well-rounded education.”

“The arts were very hard during the pandemic and we’re a go again, we’re back into people’s lives, into the hearts and souls of the human beings which is fantastic and these kids at South Middle School need it, deserve it, love it, and appreciate it. And when they leave the band room they are looking forward to the next time they can get together and whether it’s them jamming in the practice room, or getting together at home or in the band room whether it’s a performance or just to have fun, it’s really awesome to see how much they look forward day after day after day,” says Lori Olsen.

South Middle School Choir Teacher Matthew Kiskunas says Mrs. Olsen has the knack of making music relevant to her students entire education.

“Music in itself is a vitally important subject area, I talk with my kids about this and I know she does as well how it connects all the other subjects. Well kids are like ‘oh yeah, well how does it connect with math, how does it connect with science, how does it connect with all the things,’ and you can go right down the list and it’s all this stuff. And I know that she does that. So it’s one thing to say that music is vitally important, it’s an entirely different thing to have a teacher with her kind of competence and passion delivering that message to her students,” says Kiskunas.

Lori Olsen and the South band enjoy taking their act on the road. The Falcons recently performed at the Eau Claire Memorial varsity basketball game which is always a big deal for the kids in middle school. Mrs. Olsen and South Middle School will receive $1,000 dollars in grant funding from the Eau Claire Public Schools Foundation to assist with their band program.

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