Delong Middle School teacher honored with Golden Apple Award

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)-- Thursday's Golden Apple Award brings us to Delong Middle School to honor a special education teacher who has spent ten years in the Eau Claire School District. Delong's presenter of the award, was Principal Dr. Tim O'Reilly.

"We are very fortunate to have this person on our team, please help me in congratulating this year's golden apple award winner..Mr. Hayes!"

Plenty of applause for Mr. Dustin Hayes, this year's Golden Apple winner at Delong Middle School. Dustin says it was awesome to see the reaction from his students and very humbling to be recognized by his peers, adding that middle school is not always easy for kids and it's his goal to make it a positive experience.

"Just seeing the kids transition from the beginning of the year, transition to the end of the year. And seeing how they grow, how middle school is a difficult time for a lot of kids. And being able to say, 'hey you can make it' and sometimes I get to see them from 6th grade to 8th grade and then leave for high school, and it's very rewarding to see their changes as they go. And then to be able to build up that trust with you, it's just wonderful to see that and their siblings come through too, and it's kind of cool to see that too," said Hayes.

"Dustin is one of those people who brings energy to the organization, he cares so much about his kids and he's so positive, it just helps everyone get off on the right foot especially 6th graders who are just starting that middle school experience. He has a way of communicating with the kids, the families, other staff that just helps everyone move in a very positive direction," said Principal, Dr. Tim O'Reilly.

Mr. Hayes and Delong Middle School will receive a $1,000 grant from the Eau Claire Public Schools Foundation, with Dustin getting $500 of those dollars to use in his classroom.