Golden Apple Foundation is thrilled to announce that Thomas Kress has been elected the new Board president. Tom has been a Golden Apple volunteer for three years and also serves on boards for United Way, Alignment Rockford, The Rockford Symphony, Family Peace Center and the Discovery Center. He believes that the quality of a good community depends on education, which is why he supports Golden Apple’s development and recognition of teachers, who contribute to having a solid education system.
Associated Bank believes in giving back to the community and team members receive eight hours paid time off annually to volunteer. Tom says volunteerism is a pillar of their organization and is deeply engrained within the culture of Associated Bank. Locally, the credit goes to colleagues who care enough to want to volunteer to help others. Associated Banks Rockford and Beloit colleagues annually volunteer over 2,500 hours in our community. Tom leads through example and volunteers in many capacities with golden Apple including teacher observations and at special events.
As one of our top tier sponsors, Tom presents a Golden Apple to a teacher in a surprise presentation in the classroom. He concedes that he completely underestimated how special this is for a teacher. He loves the surprise, the raw emotion and the response from the kids, family and fellow teachers. He went back to the office and talked about how there is nothing like that moment. Tom also wanted to note, that while he attends many rubber chicken dinners, he thoroughly enjoys our annual banquet focused on teachers and looks forward to it each year.
When asked about a teacher who made an impact in his life, Tom was quick to remember Mrs. Hershberger, his junior high school English teacher who had a reputation for being tough. Kids got their schedules and would be upset if she was their teacher. Mrs. Hershberger adored Tom’s older sister who was an excellent student, so the first thing she asked him was, “Are you Debbie Kress’ brother?” He was dreading her classroom because he didn’t feel like he was a good student and he thought she should lower her expectations. But, Mrs. Hershberger wouldn’t let him disappoint himself because she knew he was a better student than he realized. Tom got tired of being singled out, he put the time in and ended up getting a B in English. He was never more proud of a grade!
Tom has worked closely with the Golden Apple Executive Director and our volunteer chairs to update and enhance our programs during these extraordinary times. We are purposely shifting to help teachers both virtually and in the classroom. Golden Apple Foundation is grateful for Tom’s leadership and support!