Golden Apple winner’s teaching inspires all

Seven educators at Catholic schools in the Diocese of Pittsburgh have received the 2021 Golden Apple Award:

  • Emily Janocha- teacher, John F. Kennedy Catholic School
  • Meloni DiPietro Guthoerl- teacher, Seton LaSalle High School
  • Lisa Radzanowski- teacher, Ave Maria Academy
  • Darci Smith-  teacher, Archangel Gabriel Catholic School
  • Robert Childs- associate principal, Serra Catholic High School
  • Mallory Gurney- teacher, Blessed Francis Seelos Academy
  • JoLynn Clouse- principal, Saint Wendelin School

The award recognizes their excellent performance in the classroom, church and community. Each educator received a monetary prize, thanks to the generosity of the Donahue Family Foundation.

The Pittsburgh Catholic has been featuring a Golden Apple honoree each week through the start of school.

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Golden Apple Award Winner: Emily Janocha

School/position: John F. Kennedy Catholic School/teacher

Quote: “This school has become one big family to me.”

When it comes to Emily Janocha’s efforts to educate young people at John F. Kennedy Catholic School, the show must go on!

She guides students in the classroom and on stage with a happy heart.  In just her sixth year of teaching, she has earned the prestigious Golden Apple Award. Father John Lynam, pastor of Saint James Parish in Washington, PA, described Miss Janocha as “one of the very bright lights here.”

“I was pretty shocked to hear I had won,” she told The Pittsburgh Catholic. “Everything that I put into teaching and directing, I do it for the students. I wanted to be a teacher since I was in the fourth grade.”

Janocha teaches social studies to sixth, seventh and eighth graders, reading and vocabulary to sixth graders, and computers to the entire school. She is also the school’s musical director, choreographer and drama club advisor, among other hats she wears.

“Her passion for learning inspires her students,” principal Kimberly Stevenson wrote in her nomination letter. “She is an encouraging teacher with high expectations,” adding that she “loves the Lord” and “integrates prayer and biblical teachings into her lessons and provides her class with a strong faith foundation.”

The Bodart family wrote that “her energy is infectious. She is enthusiastic about life, faith and education. The Drama Club has blossomed under (her) tutelage.”

Janocha was hired at JFK School in 2015 after earning her Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education at Duquesne University. Last year she received a Masters in Instructional Technology from Duquesne.

Growing up at Saint Mary’s Parish in Cecil, Janocha taught faith formation for eight years, working alongside her sister and mother. She also was a member of the parish youth group and became its leader for two years.

“The students and teachers welcomed me, and my family as well,” she said of JFK School. “This has become one big family to me.”