Now Accepting Entries for the 2021 Golden Apple Annual Educator Awards
We are now accepting entries for this year’s Golden Apple Educator Award! Entrants must be a Freedom Member* and an employee at a Harford or Baltimore County school (public or private).
1. First Place – $2,000 Award 2. Second Place – $1,000 Award 3. First Runner-Up – $500 Award 4. Second Runner-Up $500 Award
To enter, submit an entry form and essay. The essay must describe how you would use the funds and why you should be the one to win! Scoring favors proposals demonstrating the greatest impact on local schools, classes, students, and/or the community at large.
Freedom Federal Credit Union is pleased to offer four Annual Educator Awards of $2,000, $1,000, $500 and $500 to Harford and Baltimore County Education Employees who may be a deserving teacher, school administrator or school support employee.
Scoring favors the idea with the greatest impact on local students, classes, schools, and/or the local community.
To enter, complete the entry form and submit an essay that explains why you deserve the award. Your essay may address any or all of the following questions:
What is your plan to benefit your students, your class or your school? How will this money help you implement your plan?
Will you take a continuing education class or classes to improve your own education and expertise? (Please be specific.) How will your education improve your students’ learning?
Will you purchase supplies for your school or classroom? How will the supplies help improve student learning? (Please provide as many quantitative details as possible.)
Will your plan, training, or purchases affect the Harford County Community? If yes, how so?
Freedom Federal Credit Union Introduces New Financial Program Exclusively for Educators
Freedom Federal Credit Union is pleased to introduce a new financial program exclusively for educators in Harford and Baltimore Counties. The Golden Apple Program was created to provide financial products and services to employees working within public and private schools in the two counties.
Among the benefits of the Golden Apple Program, Freedom offers the new Educator Visa® credit card, which provides teachers and school support staff a way to organize and save on school supply purchases. Once approved for the credit card, educators will have access to a $1,000 credit line at an annual percentage rate (APR) equal to the rate of prime, currently 3.25%, as of December 9, 2020.
According to the Harford County Education Foundation, 99.5% of teachers purchase basic school supplies for their students out of their own pockets. Additionally, teachers spend approximately $500-$1,000 each year on school supplies from their personal funds. The Educator Visa credit card is intended to lessen the burden of these purchases by providing educators with a way to organize all their school-related purchases on one card, and avoid paying an APR on those expenses that is double or triple the rate of prime, if not higher.
In conjunction with the new Educator Visa, Freedom is also updating their Educator Savings Program, which now offers school employees a much higher annual percentage yield (APY) on their savings. At 2.50% APY*, educators can earn interest well above the national average for savings accounts, which the FDIC is currently reporting to be just 0.05% as of December 2020. Freedom requires no minimum balance or fees for the account, just initial proof of employment with a school.
“Those who know us well, know that our support for educators extends well beyond our community-based sponsorships. Our real involvement comes from being there on a personal level for each and every educator and support employee that we can assist,” states Mike MacPherson, President and CEO of Freedom Federal Credit Union. “As we look ahead to the rest of the school year, we know that our school employees are under immense pressure, and we can’t think of a better time to reach out to help in our own way – to ease financial stress and assist in securing their future financial well-being.”
Also included in the Golden Apple Program, new Freedom members can receive a $100 bonus with direct deposit and eStatement enrollment, a high yield checking account, 2 free Skip-A-Pays on certain loans, auto refinancing specials, a mortgage bonus, matches on new youth accounts, and eligibility to apply for Freedom’s annual classroom grant awards program. Additionally, Harford County Public School employees are able to access their pay a full day in advance of their standard payday. For full Golden Apple Program details and requirements, please visit freedomfcu.org/golden-apple/.
* Qualifying applicants will earn 2.50% APY on balances up to $10,000 and 0.35% APY on balances of $10,000.01 and higher. No minimum balance requirements. No minimum to open account. Membership eligibility applies. Federally insured by the NCUA.
Freedom Federal Credit Union SELECTS Three Harford County PUBLIC SCHOOLS Teachers to Win Golden Apple Awards
Winners Were Honored at a Reception Held on July 29, 2019
Bel Air, MD –At a reception on Monday, July 29, Freedom Federal Credit Union honored Tanya Zelwalk, as the grand prize recipient of the Credit Union’s 2019 Golden Apple Annual Educator Award grant competition. Ms. Zelwalk, who is the Learning Together classroom teacher at North Bend Elementary School, won the top $2,000 grant for her plans to better serve her special needs students, provide additional resources to their parents, and to become certified as a children’s author. The Learning Together Program serves 3-5 year-old special needs children in an inclusive and educational setting that adapts the current pre-school curriculum to the unique needs of these young learners.
Ms. Zelwalk’s request, detailed an inspirational vision to help these young learners, who have a trying journey ahead, learn socialization, empathy, communication, behavioral, and pre-academic skills that will shape their future as older students and then as productive members of society in their adult lives.
Freedom noted that, although a record number of submissions were received this year, it was Ms. Zelwalk’s thoughtfulness and consideration for how the award could affect positive change for her students, their parents, and for her own professional development that made her application standout from the rest.
Additionally, two other recipients were awarded grants: Alisa Janiski, Gifted and Talented Resource Teacher at Church Creek and Roye-Williams Elementary schools, and Jess Wilson, Adapted Physical Education Teacher at the John Archer School. Both Ms. Janiski and Ms. Wilson will receive $500 each to fund initiatives at their respective schools.
Turning ordinary days into extraordinary opportunities for learning is Ms. Janiski’s specialty at Church Creek and Roye-Williams Elementary Schools. As a Gifted & Talented Teacher, Alisa Janiski, champions creative and memorable learning opportunities for her students.
Ms. Janiski asked Freedom to imagine walking into a classroom for a normal day at school, just to find that it has been transformed. Teachers are wearing surgical masks, desks have become operating tables, and nametags are preceded with the title, Dr. It is now up to the students to save their patients with an exciting day of practical reading and math applications. Ms. Janiski’s Ron Clark Academy-inspired Room Transformations, allow students to experience immersive learning scenarios where they might find themselves immigrating to America at Ellis Island, surviving on a deserted island, or camping in the woods.
As the full-time Adapted Physical Education Teacher at the John Archer School in Bel Air, Ms. Jessica Wilson works with students ages three to twenty-one. All of her students have developmental disabilities, in conjunction with either a medical or physical limitation, or both.
Ms. Wilson has accepted the challenge to adapt Harford County’s Physical Education curriculum to her students’ unique needs and abilities. Like any children, the students at John Archer want to enjoy activities accessible in their community, such as miniature golf, but often need help learning the basic psychomotor skills to participate.
Ms. Wilson came to Freedom to ask for help in purchasing miniature golf equipment that could be appropriately modified to compliment the skill progression of her students as they learn to use the equipment, so that they too might enjoy the game in their youth and for years to come. When the equipment is not being used at John Archer, it will be available for use by other students with special needs around the county.
Mike MacPherson, President and CEO of Freedom Federal Credit Union, emceed the reception and congratulated the recipients on their achievement. ”We value all of our members, and it is a special day when we can celebrate and support teachers from among our membership. They have set out to make a real and actionable difference in the lives of our Harford County youth, and it is our honor to play a part in supporting them and their ongoing initiatives.”
Jean Mantegna, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources at Harford County Public Schools (HCPS), attended the reception on behalf of Dr. Sean Bulson. “The Golden Apple Award recognizes teachers who continuously seek new and meaningful ways to deliver instruction to our students. Thank you to Freedom for providing this opportunity to honor great teachers and create a positive and lasting impact in the classroom,” said Mantegna.
The annual competition is intended to support Freedom Federal Credit Union members who are employed at a Harford County school and have a creative vision for education that can only be met with community support. All applicants were asked to submit an essay demonstrating how their idea would serve their students, class, school and the Harford County community. Entries were judged by a panel of Freedom employees, board members, and community leaders.