News release from the Murrieta Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
On Sunday, May 5, the Murrieta Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) held its seventh annual Crystal Apple Awards ceremony. Molly Sovacool, of Murrieta Mesa High School, Allana Fields of Murrieta Valley High School, and Matthew Martinelli of Vista Murrieta High School were each honored with the Crystal Apple Award.
For the first time, the Murrieta Stake awarded the Lifetime Crystal Apple Achievement Award to two esteemed recipients: Renate Jefferson, Murrieta Valley High School principal, retiring at the end of this year; and Darren Daniel, Vista Murrieta High School principal, also moving on next year to begin serving as Murrieta Valley Unified’s director of secondary education.
Others in attendance were Murrieta Valley Unified School District Superintendent, Patrick Kelley, along with Murrieta Mesa High School principal, Mary Walters. Other local dignitaries included Murrieta School Board President, Kris Thomasian, and members Paul Diffley, Robin Crist and Ken Dickson. Joan Sparkman, MSJC Board Trustee, also attended.
Students attending Murrieta public high schools who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, annually honor special teachers at the Crystal Apple awards which students present. Three top finalists from each high school are given special recognition, with one teacher, from each high school, being awarded the Crystal Apple.
This year teachers were nominated and recognized at the Crystal Apple awards ceremony. Teachers are nominated by LDS students that attend “seminary” (Bible study) at 6 a.m. every day prior to going to their high school classes. Nominated teachers exemplify dedication to quality teaching and who uphold and encourage students’ moral values and high ethical standards.
Just prior to the formal program beginning, lights were dimmed and the entire room went silent. A short video was then shown, winner of the 2011 International LDS Church Video Contest: "Honesty -You Better Believe it!" Welcoming those in attendance, Brian Connors, member of the Crystal Apple awards committee, expressed warm feelings of familiar recognition to all dignitaries in attendance, and expressed heartfelt gratitude to the many teachers, parents and students for their ongoing support, year-after-year, in coming to support the Crystal Apple awards. Connors then turned a few moments over to Murrieta City Mayor, Rick Gibbs.
“It’s an honor to be here,” Gibbs said. “It’s the sixth time I’ve been here. It’s an honor because I’m here among friends, in this remarkable city, who make it this way because they teach responsibility and integrity. For that, we have a much better community. God bless them all!”
At his first Crystal Apple Awards, in the concluding remarks of the evening, Kelley said that he was “honored to be here” and thanked the students, family and church for what they do. To the teachers, he said, “You do not understand how inspired we are with what the students said about you. You don’t do it for the pay. You do it out of passion, commitment, and the investment in students. Thank you, for serving the larger mission.”
The Murrieta Stake continues to be inspired by the quality of teachers that our LDS youth nominate each year to receive the Crystal Apple Award. We consider this event a favorite among many we organize throughout the year; as it is deeply inspiring! Mormons enjoy reaching out into our community and serving others. The Crystal Apple Award is a way for LDS youth to honor teachers in a particularly unique way that we believe is pretty special in today’s world. To anyone attending this event, that understanding is made known quite readily; which is why we all keep coming back for more, year after year…
Principal Daniel probably said it best: “It’s one thing to be recognized. But, to be honored by young people you serve everyday… THAT’S payday!”
List of Nominees and Recipients of Awards
Porter Reddish introduced Principal Darren Daniel and presented him with The Crystal Apple Lifetime Achievement Award
Britton Phillips and Hayley Moore introduced Principal Renate Jefferson and presented her with the Crystal Apple Lifetime Achievement Award
Matt Enfield presented David Olson (Honorable Mention)
Jena Burgess presented Kathy Myers (Honorable Mention)
Brandon Rasmussen presented Matthew Martinelli (Winner)
Cassidy Fronk presented Michelle Pardue (Honorable Mention)
Brooke Morrison presented Scott Richards (Honorable Mention)
Hailey Bowler presented Alanna Fields (Winner)
Madi Stephan presented Shane Ebert (Honorable Mention)
James Pulley presented Anna Eagan (Honorable Mention)
Malakai Duke presented Molly Sovacool (Winner)
Vista Murrieta Nominees
Colonel Eugene Matera
Murrieta Valley Nominees
Murrieta Mesa Nominees