Six teachers from area schools, including three in Tracy and one in Mountain House, were applauded at the annual Crystal Apple Awards ceremony hosted March 8 by the Manteca Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

High school juniors and seniors in the church nominated teachers based on their teaching, community values and ability to inspire students.

Anne Duff, who teaches English and composition at West High School, was nominated by Lily Millar.

““She understands that each student is an individual with their own unique thoughts and perspectives,” Millar said. “Not only does she understand that students have their own ideas, but she also encourages them to share them and improve upon them.”

Paul Demsher, a special education teacher, also coaches girls tennis at Tracy High School. He was nominated by Anna Norman, Jesselyn Knight, and Sydney Lanning.

“Mr. Demsher helps his students prepare for their futures after high school, whether it be work or school,” Norman said. “He is a selfless individual and I will definitely miss playing on his tennis team.”

Jacob Cortez teaches band, choir and piano at Kimball High School, and he was nominated by Claire Keller.

“Mr. Cortez really cares about each and every one of his students and is an amazing mentor,” Keller said. “I can speak for all of his students when I say that we truly appreciate all of the time and energy that he puts into the music and arts program.”

Shelby Scoffield, an English language and composition teacher at Mountain House High School, was nominated by Hannah Witham.

“She’s a great example in my life because she guides everyone, no matter what point they're at,” Witham said. “I’ve improved a lot from being in her class.”

The other Crystal Apple Award winners were Justin Crowe, who teaches history, government and economics at Sierra High School; and Shannon Easter, an earth science and biology teacher at Lathrop High School.

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