The Crystal Apple Committee of the Garden City Area Chamber of Commerce announced the 12 semi-finalists for this year’s Crystal Apple Teacher Recognition program this week, with multiple candidates chosen from Gertrude Walker Elementary School and Garden City High School.

This year, the committee received 40 applications this year for the 24th Crystal Apple Awards, a program that honors teachers of all grade levels in Finney County. The Chamber's Crystal Apple Committee, made up of representatives from the local business community, review applications and ultimately select the top three award winners. The 40 applications were narrowed down to 12 through a blind read by three committee members.

The 2019 semi-finalists are Dani Jo Becker of Garfield Early Childhood Center, Lauren Bendert of Gertrude Walker Elementary School, Dalana Billinger of Gertrude Walker Elementary School, David Brager of Gertrude Walker Elementary School, Kelly Butcher of Garden City High School, Yuriy Drubinskiy of Garden City High School, Melissa Hensley of Garden City High School, Makenzi Johnson of Garden City High School, Paul Lappin of Garden City High School, Roxanna Reed of Abe Hubert Elementary School, Lyle Sobba of Garden City High School and Sarah Wise of Kenneth Henderson Middle School.

The Crystal Apple Committee will narrow the 12 semi-finalists down to six finalists in September following individual teacher interviews. The six finalists will then be observed by four additional Crystal Apple committee members in their classrooms at times unknown to each of the six teachers.

The top three of the six finalists will be named the 2019 Crystal Apple Teachers of Finney County at a banquet this November and each receive an engraved crystal apple, $1,000 cash award and an iPad. The remaining three finalists will each be awarded $250. The awards banquet will begin at 6 p.m. on Nov. 14 at the Clarion Inn, 1911 East Kansas Ave.