From Student to Teacher, Lincoln Educator Awarded Golden Apple

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Life at Lincoln High School has come full circle for Stephanie Brennan. She graduated from there in 2003 and now teaches family and consumer sciences. Recently, Brennan was awarded the Golden Apple Award.

"I've always wanted one of these," she laughs.

Brennan says she prides herself in getting to know her students by opening up a pathway for trust. Student, Kennedy Oakley, walked down that path during a difficult time in her life.

"I thought suicide was really one of the options because I never thought I would be able to get through school and live up to something," Oakley says who once was failing all her classes.

The junior says she reached out to Brennan for help and was quickly reminded of her abilities, potential, and self-worth.

"She really helped me through that.  She talked to me on a really personal and deep level and immersed herself into my life. She feels like a second mom," Oakley tearfully says.

Making personal connections with students is something Brennan takes personally. She stresses the importance of young people being able to communicate face-to-face with others no matter the topic.

"It`s a different time and a different world for them and they are so interconnected but in reality they are not connect to anyone so teaching them to make those real world connections," says Brennan.

For some of her students, they say that communication has helped saved lives.

"Take time to get to know your teachers and they`ll take time to get to know you," says Oakley.