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West sings praises of music teacher

Freeman Elementary School music teacher PDoctor is recipient West AurorSchool District's Golden Apple Award. | Submitted Photo

Freeman Elementary School music teacher Pat Doctor is the recipient of the West Aurora School District's Golden Apple Award. | Submitted Photo

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“It’s my belief that children can accomplish fabulous tasks when there are high expectations.”

— Pat Doctor, Freeman Elementary School music teacher

Updated: December 24, 2012 6:45AM

AURORA — The relationship between West Aurora School Board Vice President Allyson Herget and Freeman Elementary School music teacher Pat Doctor has progressed from poison apples to golden apples.

The two met several years ago as they worked together on a production of “Snow White,” in which the beautiful princess takes a bite from a poisoned apple, and falls into a trance-like sleep.

Herget noted this progression in their relationship as she introduced Doctor this week as the winner of the School District’s Golden Apple Award.

“The purpose of the Golden Apple Award is to recognize educators who have gone above and beyond in the classroom,” Herget said.

An emotional Doctor accepted the award, with family and a handful of Freeman Elementary School colleagues in the audience. Doctor works with elementary school students in all grades in elaborate musical productions, that sometimes involve original music pertaining to lessons the children are learning in the classroom.

The children are having lots of fun in the process, Doctor said.

“It’s also my belief that children can accomplish fabulous tasks when there are high expectations,” she said.

Last year, Doctor’s third grade class performed an original musical celebrating Aurora’s 175th anniversary as a city, titled “Aurora, Our Community.” This year, her fourth grade class will perform a musical called “The Illinois Story” at 1 p.m. Dec. 13 at the Crimi Auditorium on the Aurora University Campus. The students are currently learning about the state, she said.

Smith Elementary School music teacher Lynda Lantz nominated Doctor for the district award. She was impressed with the way that Doctor involves every student, and her positive energy and enthusiasm, she said.

“What a gift that Pat gives to all of her elementary students,” Lantz said.

School Board President Neal Ormond said he is happy to have Doctor in the district.

“We are so blessed to have you on our staff, and I’m so proud that you represent District 129,” he said.

After Doctor accepted the award, the board played a video montage set to music with some of the pictures of Doctor directing her student musicals throughout the years.

In addition to the award, Doctor’s name appears on a plaque in the district administration building downtown. The district also makes a $500 donation into a fund for Freeman Elementary School, and a $350 donation for professional development.

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