Editor's note: This is the second in a series of three sets of profiles on this year's Crystal Apple finalists.

On Nov. 15, three local teachers will be named the 2018 Crystal Apple Teachers of Finney County, awarding their efforts in the classroom and celebrating them as some of the county’s best educators.

Each year, a panel of local business representatives select some of the best local teachers from a pool of nominees, ultimately selecting six finalists.

This year’s finalists are A’Lana Bates Aronson of Horace J. Good Middle School, Sarah Drubinskiy of Charles O. Stones Intermediate Center, Violet Dubois of Horace J. Good and Kenneth Henderson middle school, Sarah Harris of Victor Ornelas Elementary School, Barbara Hilt of Garden City High School and Denna Welch-Haney of Abe Hubert Elementary School.

At the Crystal Apple awards banquet, the three winning teachers, who must be contracted, certified teachers at Garden City USD 457, Holcomb USD 363, St. Dominic or St. Mary Catholic Schools or Bible Christian Academy, will receive an engraved crystal apple, $1,000 and an iPad. The remaining finalists will receive $250.

The banquet, hosted by the Garden City Area Chamber of Commerce, will begin at 6 p.m. Nov. 15 at the Clarion Inn, 1911 E. Kansas Ave. Tickets are $25.

The Telegram sent each finalist a questionnaire to fill out and returnand. On Thursday, we featured Harris and Hilt. Today, meet Bates Aronson and Dubois.

Questionnaires have been edited for style and brevity.


A'Lana Bates Aronson

School: Horace J. Good Middle School

Grade/subjects: Eighth grade English

Years at current school: 9

Years at USD 457: 10

Years teaching: 11

Hometown: Mason, Mich.

Family: Husband Andy, and daughter Brooksleigh

Education: Bachelor's in English from Albion College in Albion, Mich.; Master's in teaching and curriculum from Michigan State University in Lansing, Mich.

Extra-curricular activities: Former middle school volleyball coach, former GCHS forensics coach, HGMS Science Olympiad coach

Community involvement: Adjunct instructor at GCCC


What made you want to be a teacher?

I love to help people, and I love working with teenagers. I always came back to teaching no matter what other careers I considered.


What's the most rewarding part of your job?

Getting to know and work with my future community members. Nothing beats getting to watch students grow up.


What is your teaching method, or what unique or different methods do you use in your classroom?

I’d call my style “Organized Chaos.” I believe there is a beauty in structure and a beauty in chaos, and we learn best when we’re engaged.


How do you connect with your students?

The first few weeks of school are all about connecting through stories, surveys, conversations and shared experiences. One of the best parts of being an ELA teacher is that I get to read so much of my students’ writing.


What are your future goals or plans for your class?

I am really excited to help my students continue to grow as readers and writers.


Violet Dubois

School: Horace J. Good Middle School and Kenneth Henderson Middle School

Grade/subjects: Band grades 7-8, eighth grade jazz band

Years at current school: 7 at HGMS, 3 at KHMS

Years at USD 457: 7

Years teaching: 7

Extra-curricular activities: Head HGMS volleyball coach, sound and lighting for Clifford Hope Auditorium and Live on Stage events, HGMS PLC group leader, mentor teacher, middle school pep band and AVID site team.

Community involvement: Private lessons, student concerts and recitals, community parades, helped organize Gardenpalooza talent show in 2016


What made you want to be a teacher?

When I was younger, I always thought of my teachers as heroes ... Outside of my family, the person that influenced me the most was my high school band teacher, Mrs. Denning. Mrs. Denning pushed me every day to set goals and achieve them. She is the reason I became more involved in music ... She encouraged me to be involved and to develop my talent. Mrs. Denning’s teaching style is what helped me become the teacher I am today. She related to her students and cared about us and our future. I knew that was what I wanted. I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to help someone find their passion and live it. ...


What's the most rewarding part of your job?

Because I get the opportunity to teach both middle school bands, I am able to see the growth and accomplishments over the two years in my classroom, not only as musicians, but as human beings. Attending their band concerts, sporting events or any extracurricular activities they are a part of is rewarding to me because I am able to connect with them beyond my classroom. ...


What is your teaching method, or what unique or different methods do you use in your classroom?

When engaging students in my classroom, it is best to have multiple teaching strategies ... One class activity that is particularly effective is student-to-student coaching. Each section has student leaders ... After I have given directions and expectations of what I want the students to work on, students break up into sectionals and the student leaders take over. ... When my students are helping other classmates, it reinforces their learning of the music.


How do you connect with your students?

I build real relationships with each one of my students ... My classroom allows them to find their way and gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment. It teaches them responsibility and self-confidence. My room isn’t just a classroom, it’s a family ... With so much chaos and/or struggles they may be facing, music can be the one thing they have. ... I chose this profession because I wanted to make an impact, but as it turns out, the students are what have made an impact on me.


What are your future goals or plans for your class?

Each year, I strive to challenge each and every one of my students through different pieces of music that students can relate to and enjoy. I want to continue to involve band students in as many school events and activities, such as sporting events and pep assemblies. In the next couple of years, I hope to create and implement a middle school drumline.


Want to learn about any finalists you missed? See the other Q&As at www.gctelegram.com.