SOUTH BELOIT, Ill. (WTVO) — Eyewitness News is sharing the story of outstanding teachers in the stateline this week.

Golden Apple 2023 winner Sarah Shovelin teaches 3rd grade at South Beloit’s Prairie Hill Elementary School. Her nomination for the award came from a special group of people.

Early in her career, Shovelin learned that teachers wear many hats.

“I’ve always strived to do everything I can for them, so I think even more so, I will just continue to do that,” Shovelin said.

She understands the vital role that she plays in helping her students grow both socially and academically.

It is a responsibility that she does not take lightly.

“Being nominated any year is such an honor, for the parents and the community to know that, how much we care about their students but also how much work we put into making sure that everyday is the best day for them,” Shovelin said.

When Shovelin found out that her student’s parents nominated her for the Golden Apple award, she was truly touched.

“They’re in 3rd grade, they understand that we worked hard and we gave it our all,” she said. “And now, I’m just so humbled and overwhelmed, and I just, yeah, there’s no words.”

It is that dedication that earned Shovelin a Golden Apple award. Her family went to extraordinary lengths to keep her win a surprise.

“So, we really did not know,” Shovelin said.

She said that this award inspires her to continue finding ways to challenge her students.

“Thank you, and this is amazing,” Shovelin said.