Two H-F High grads selected 2019 Golden Apple Scholars

Homewood-Flossmoor High School graduates Cori Hoekstra, class of 2019, and Amanda Fieramosca, class of 2018, have been selected 2019 Golden Apple Scholars.
Cori Hoekstra is a freshman at Eastern Illinois University.
  Cori Hoekstra is a
  freshman at Eastern
  Illinois University.


Hoekstra, a freshman at Eastern Illinois University, plans to teach special education at the elementary level. Fieramosca, a sophomore at St. Xavier University, wants to focus on teaching history at the high school level.

The 2019 Golden Apple Scholars program inducted more than 250 future teachers from across Illinois into the program, now in its fifth year. Golden Apple’s mission is to inspire, develop and support teacher and school leader excellence in Illinois, especially in schools of need, said Alan Mather, president of Golden Apple.
Amanda Fieramosca is a sophomore at St. Xavier University.
  Amanda Fieramosca
  is a sophomore at
  St. Xavier University.


Hoekstra and Fieramosca both have pledged that through the Golden Apple Scholars program they will teach in challenging school environments for five years after graduation. They receive partial college tuition and are given special training to help them become excellent teachers.

Hoekstra and Fieramosca are involved in the Golden Apple Scholar Institute each summer of their college career. The institute puts them in classrooms working directly with students, reflecting on their teaching practice and receiving instruction and mentorship from Golden Apple teachers and experts.
This past summer, Hoekstra was at DePaul University for workshops, observed teachers and worked with students in Chicago Public Schools. Fieramosca was at institute sessions at North Central College and had student interactions at an elementary school in Naperville.
Hoekstra said: “I have been working with Special Olympics and kids with disabilities since I was 10.” Her grandmother, Nancy Hoekstra, and her mom, Alice Hoekstra, were organizers for Special Olympics events in the South Suburbs and she would go with them and help out. Her father is Dan Hoekstra.
“So (Special Olympics) is something that I grew up doing and love doing and will continue to do for the rest of my life,” she added.
Her fourth grade teacher at Churchill School, Kendrick Wesley, was the first person that made her think about a teaching career. As a student at H-F, Hoekstra felt the special education staff was very encouraging as she finalized her college major decision.
Hoekstra was involved in H-F’s Unified Program that pairs special education and general population students in activities and sports. She was a member of the Unified basketball, soccer and track teams. She also was a member of the H-F girls soccer team.
Fieramosca said her sophomore H-F history teacher, John Schmidt, made her think about a teaching career. 
“I didn’t think history was particularly important before I took his class. He made me realize the subject wasn’t just important but it could be fun as well,” she said. “I knew I wanted to teach history after Mr. Schmidt’s class.”
She wants to help students discover not only their personal history, but other cultures and perspectives as well. And, she believes history should be emphasized “so we don’t go on to repeat the mistakes of the past. Those are my two big reasons for wanting to do history.”
At H-F, Fieramosca was a member of the sophomore and junior speech teams and the mock trial her junior and senior years. She was a member of the National Honor Society.
The past few years she has worked at different times at Flossmoor Montessori School. Although she doesn’t want to teach students that age, she said the job gave her perspectives on how to help students.
“I definitely picked up some good things” from the job, the 19-year-old said. She is the daughter of David and Donna Fieramosca of Homewood.

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