GOLDEN APPLE WINNER: Math is more than just numbers for Enterprise's Kayla Moore

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Jan. 21—ENTERPRISE — Enterprise Elementary School fourth grade teacher Kayla Moore didn't like math when she was in school.

Preferring writing and literature, Moore shunned math until ninth grade, when her teacher showed that her math is more than just the numbers.

Math is problem solving. It's resiliency. While the numbers may change and the equations look different, an understanding of math is a tool that helps people from all walks of life.

Now, the January 2022 Golden Apple winner uses her former aversion to numerical problems to connect with her students and show them that their dreams are well within reach.

"I love teaching kids math because I get being the kid that doesn't like math," she said. "So when my kids do have that 'a-ha' moment, it gives me reassurance that I've given them a tool where they can be successful later in life."

But Moore sees her job as more than making sure her students perform well on their tests. Through math, she said, she tries to inspire her students and build in them the resiliency they'll need to reach their goals.

"The most important thing that I want to teach my kids is that they can do it," she said. "They can be successful regardless of their circumstances, regardless of the mistakes they make. I think my overall goal is a growth mindset. I want to teach my kids it's not if you make a mistake but when, and what's more important than the actual mistake is learning from it."

In life, mistakes will happen, and problems will come up, Moore said. It's unavoidable. When those mistakes happen, when a problem needs to be solved, she wants her students to have the constitution to get back up and try again.

"I want to teach my kids that if you want it, go for it," she said. "And you're gonna fail, you're gonna mess up, but let's get back up and let's try again. That's what I want my kids to realize and take with them out into the workforce."

Being named the Golden Apple winner for January was a huge honor, Moore said. More than that, it was validating.

"Just to be recognized at all or even nominated is amazing," she said. "It gives me motivation. I think teaching is a lot like parenting. Sometimes you're just like, 'I hope I'm doing this right. I hope I'm getting this right.' It's just kind of an affirmation that I'm doing a little bit right. It's an amazing feeling."

As a teacher, she said she wanted to have an impact on her students and help them become the best versions of themselves. Receiving the Golden Apple is proof her efforts aren't in vain.

"It just means the world," she said.

About the Golden Apple

Moore received a Golden Apple Certificate and $1000 (approximate value) in school supplies from Avery Products and $200 in cash.

A television program will be produced in May 2022 in honor of the monthly Golden Apple Award winners and to announce the Teacher of the Year. The program will be broadcast on CBS24, NBC30, FOX30, Bounce TV and METV.

The Teachers of the Year will receive a special award on stage (The Meridian Star article), a custom-made Teacher of the Year Trophy, $2,500 cash to be used at their discretion and a $2,500 scholarship to be awarded to a deserving student in the teacher's name.

Presenting sponsors are East Mississippi Electric Power Association (EMEPA), NBC30, CBS24, FOX30, BOUNCE, METV, and The Meridian Star.

Key sponsors are EMEPA, Law Offices of Richard Schwartz, Mississippi Power Company, Woodstock Furniture and Avery Products. Participating sponsors are Meridian Coca-Cola Bottling Company — Muna Federal Credit Union — 1st Mississippi Federal Credit Union — Meridian Mutual Federal Credit Union — Meridian MS Air National Guard Federal Credit Union.

How to nominate an educator

Nominations for the monthly Golden Apple Award can be submitted by parents, faculty, or community members as well as past or present students. Candidates must be a current, full-time, faculty member in Pre-K through 12th grade (public or private) and work in the following counties: Lauderdale, Neshoba, Kemper, Clarke, and Newton in Mississippi; and Choctaw and Sumter in Alabama.

The nomination process consists of an essay (no more than 500 words) detailing why the person should be considered for the award. Nomination details and an entry form are available online at www.goldenappleawards.com.