When the entourage of people crowded into Katie Hook’s 8th grade Spanish class late Wednesday morning, she and her students didn’t know why, but the man carrying the TV camera and the familiar-looking woman holding the microphone quickly made it clear this was not an ordinary class visit.
Hook was a recipient of a Golden Apple award, an honor given to Rhode Island teachers by NBC 10, Commissioner Gist and Hasbro.
That familiar-looking woman with the mic? Patrice Wood. Following behind her was state Education Commissioner Deborah Gist, as well as E.G. Supt. Victor Mercurio, School Committeewoman Carolyn Mark and Cole Middle School Principal, herself a Golden Apple recipient, Alexis Meyer.
Hook was nominated by Spanish colleague Randi DeFusco. Upon learning that, Hook said, “She should be right here, next to me,” then she launched into a list of people to thank, ending with her students, which prompted loud self congratulations.
“She’s just passionate,” said Lois Gendreau, head of the EG Spanish department, about Hook. “She’s passionate and that passion comes through in the classroom. I was observing her a couple days ago and just her excitement – it’s contagious.”
“I volunteered on one of the community nights she ran years ago, and was completely blown away by how visionary she is as a teacher and how she really does integrate so many cultural aspects in everything she does,” said Mark, who’s son had Hook. “But at the same time, she has this incredible attention to detail and she just makes it all happen. She’s phenomenally organized and I think she’s an inspiration to the kids both in terms of how visionary she is but also just in terms of how productive she is and how organized she is.”
“I think it’s wonderful. She’s a fabulous teacher,” said Mercurio. “Everything that was said about the way she engages kids in the real world activities – she’s a terrific asset to our schools, to the whole community.”
Katie Hook’s Golden Apple will be shown on NBC 10 on Thursday, Feb. 20.