A Ralls County educator was awarded the WGEM Golden Apple Award in November.
Diana Duckworth has held various positions in the more then two decades she’s worked with the Ralls County school district, from teaching high school special education to fifth grade.
Duckworth is currently the elementary school counselor. She says this role allows her to focus on kids’ needs beyond the classroom.
“There are other issues that affect kids before they come to school,” Duckworth said. “So, I figure if I can help with them and kind of meet some of those needs then they are ready to go into the classroom and be successful there.”
Elementary school teacher Kelsey Gerveler helped organize the Golden Apple nomination for Duckworth.
“I’m in the classroom right next to her office so I get to see everyday how much she does for the kids here and the staff and our community. She’s a big part of our school,” Gerveler said.
Teachers say Duckworth is involved in numerous activities and events to help students, including organizing collections for shoes and warm coats for kids in need. She also helps kids implement new ideas they come up with.
“If the kids say want to do something we need to find a way to do it,” Duckworth said.
Duckworth also leads Homework Club to help kids finish their work.
“She just inspires me everyday because she just works so hard,” Gerveler said.
“If you have a kid that’s sad or upset that’s who they want to go to and talk to. It’s just a family here, we really are a family, and she’s the biggest part of our family,” reading teacher Lisa Allen said.
It’s not just Duckworth’s school family that recognizes her dedication to the district. Her daughter, sister, and niece also work in the district.
Duckworth’s sister and current Ralls County junior high principal Delores Woodhurst won the WGEM Golden Apple in 1994. She agrees her sister is deserving of the award.
“When you hear the phrase ‘whatever it takes’ that’s Mrs. Duckworth. She is a counselor. She creates outstanding lessons, she really has connections with kids. She’s there for every child. She celebrates with them. She’s just outstanding,” Woodhurst said.