Published on May 12, 2020 by Leighton Doores  
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The Department of Teacher Education in Orlean Beeson School of Education virtually hosted The Golden Apple Awards on May 7. This ceremony, modeled after the Golden Globes, was to recognize award and scholarship recipients and honor graduating seniors. It included faculty members dressed in festive Hollywood attire, humorous commercials and professor David Finn serving as the master of ceremonies.

The guest speaker was a beloved member of the Orlean Beeson School of Education faculty, Charlotte Freeman, who is retiring this school year. Freeman joined the faculty in 1973 and has served in various roles through the years, but none she loved more than being a teacher.

Freeman encouraged graduating seniors to focus not only on preparing technically for the field of education, but consider how they want to be remembered. “What will your legacy be? A teacher who is one that is unforgiving? A teacher who is one that is unremembered? Or a teacher who is unforgotten? The relationship with your students will determine the outcome. We wish you remarkable success in your chosen profession while doing God’s work.”

As the ceremony entered into the awards and scholarships presentation, faculty members took turns presenting for the Early Childhood, Special Education, Elementary, Elementary Collaborative (ESEC) program and the Secondary and P-12 program.

The teacher education academic awards included:

  • Highest Academic Achievement in the Junior class:

          Anna Berent and Meredith Brady, ESEC

          Sarah Morgan Lake, Secondary and P-12


  • Highest Academic Achievement in the Senior class:

          Kate Campbell, ESEC

          Abigail Hawkins, Secondary and P-12


  • Kappa Delta Pi, Zeta Theta Chapter Award: Celena Hathaway


  • Ira F. Simmons Award: Josh Sumrall


  • Most Promise to be a Teacher Leader Award:

          Haley Schneider, ESEC

          Abigail Aho, Secondary and P-12


  • Martha B. Ralls Most Promise as an Exemplary Teacher:

          Colby Kuhn, ESEC

          Sydney Lane, Secondary and P-12


  • John and Frances Carter Awards for Teaching Excellence:

          Emily Daniel, early childhood education

          Sierra Rayzor, elementary education

          Michaela Hunter, special education


  • Award for Innovative Practice in the K-12 Classroom: Kate Campbell


  • Carol D. Dean Service Award: Maddie A. Smith

Caroline Dymond was given the Brookwood Baptist Nila Graham Campbell Scholarship, which is awarded to a deserving undergraduate with preference given to those students pursuing a degree in early childhood education.

Hayle Earle received the John and Frances Carter Endowed Scholarship for Teacher Education which is awarded to juniors or seniors who are enrolled in a certification program for teacher education.

The Velma Wright Irons Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Natalie Beeler, which is given to an education major who has a strong goal toward pursuing a career in education.

Anna Berent and Sarah Binder were selected to receive the Kathryn Abercrombie Scholarship, which recognizes outstanding students with high academic performance and character.

The Jo Cooper and Henry W. Dark Scholarship was given to Molly Downing and Mary Snyder. This scholarship is made possible through the generosity of Edwin W. and Billie B. Bleier, who give in memory of their aunt and uncle, Jo Cooper and Henry W. Dark. Both Cooper and Dark served as teachers throughout their professional careers.

Rose Tarwater received the Bill and Pam Smith Family Foundation Scholarship which is awarded to a student pursuing a career in elementary education with a preference given to those with a passion for teaching mathematics and science.

The Alabama Power School of Education Endowed Scholarship was awarded to Julianna Smith in honor of Rev. Terry W. DeFoor for his service to the Baptist ministry and support of education.

Melanie Kay was selected to receive the Anne Glaze and William C. Stone Scholarship, which was established in memory of Charles R. Glaze and to honor Ila G. Glaze.

The Ms. Jewell Scholarship, which seeks to demonstrate what the Lord will do for the recipients whose hearts and minds are dedicated to loving and serving the Lord, was awarded to Caroline Dymond.

Maggie Greene was awarded the James H. Endowed Scholarship given by Jean Daughtry Williams in memory of her late husband James H. “Jim” Williams. This scholarship was established to assist worthy students in their effort to acquire a Samford education.

Ralph and Orlean Bullard Beeson, for whom the school was named, established the Beeson Scholarship Awards as a way to recognize academic excellence, leadership, participation in campus activities and professional promise. This year’s recipients were Amber Cruz, Olivia Cushing, Caroline Dymond, Eulaya Erb, Maggie Greene, Ashlyn Hamrick, Abigail Hanby, Hannah Harb, Jenna Heeren, Riley Lackey, Molly Moriak, Layne Peterson, Grace Robinson and Jenna Rogers.

Dean Anna McEwan presented the Orlean Beeson School of Education Dean’s Award to Abigail Hawkins. This award is given to a deserving senior who has shown superior performance in teacher education throughout their entire time in the program.

McEwan also presented the Golden Apple Outstanding Alumni Award to Haley Brown. This award is presented each year to an outstanding young alumni educator who has shown excellence in and outside the classroom since graduation. Brown graduated from Samford in 2013 with her Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood, Special Education, Elementary, Elementary Collaborative. She returned in May 2016 to complete her Master of Education in elementary education and now has seven years of experience in the classroom at Trace Crossings Elementary in Hoover, AL.

After all awards and scholarships were presented, the senior class of 2020 was celebrated with a photo slideshow. Each senior was featured and shared their favorite scripture, favorite memory, what they’ve learned or words of gratitude to their peers and faculty. The ceremony ended with words of encouragement and congratulations from faculty members.

“Despite difficult circumstances, you have shown flexibility, extended grace to your faculty and to your colleagues and demonstrated excellence in the Samford tradition,” said Finn. “So we salute you, on behalf of the faculty and staff at Samford, we wish each of you and your families a wonderful and safe summer.”

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.