Louies Logo

Golden Apple Foundation is holding a Celebrity Bartender fundraising event from 4:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021, at Louie’s Tap House, sponsored by Associated Bank. 

Join us for a night of fun with your family or friends to support 2021-2022 Golden Apple Foundation programs by buying a beer from our bartenders and sharing big tips with them! There will also be karaoke; $5/hour in the Pixel Paradise Arcade; $2.50 mini-putt games; and 815 Rising Star performer Zak Percell showing off magic tricks from 6-7 p.m.

The event features WTVO-17/Fox-39's Whitney Martin and Elliot Grandia; Golden Apple Academy members, Megan Forsythe (Prairie Hill School, 2008), Amanda Newmes (Belvidere North HS, 2019), Nikki Gallentine (Prairie Hill School, 2020) and Heidi Milner (Ledgewood School, 2020); Golden Apple board member Lynn Gibson (Retired Hononegah District #207 Superintendent, NIU Clinical Assistant Professor); Glenn Terry, Superintendent of Rockton School District; and Mike Pura, President of the Rockford Community Market of Associated Bank as Celebrity Bartenders.

Contact a board or staff member for a ticket to a meal of a burger, chips and any drink (up to a $7 value) for $20 ($5 of each ticket goes to our non-profit). MEAL TICKETS WILL NOT BE SOLD AT THE DOOR. The Golden Apple Foundation is a volunteer-driven organization that celebrates, inspires and supports educational excellence in our community. The Golden Apple Foundation honors teachers, principals, assistant principals and volunteers in more than 150 schools, both public and non-public, in Winnebago and Boone counties through four core programs: Awards & Recognition, Teacher AcademyClassroom Grants and Community Engagement. Louie's Tap House is located at 5689 Elevator Rd, in Roscoe. For more information: 815-226-4180 or goldenappleofrockford.com.

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The 2021 Excellence in Education Banquet was held on June 14 and we are excited to offer a video of the entire event online thanks to Eric Wilson and the WTVO/WQRF team! Click HERE to watch!

Congratulations to 2020 Golden Apple teachers, Nikki Gallentine of Prairie Hill Elementary, Heather Geary of Whitehead Elementary, Tui Harned of Nashold Early Education Center, Heidi Milner of Ledgewood School and Tiffany Russey of Welsh Elementary who presented their speeches along with 2020 Outstanding Principal Erin Salberg of Nashold Early Childhood Center. K-FACT was presented with the 2020 Jan Jones Educational Service Award. In addtion, the 20 Finailsts were announced and local excellence in education was celebrated during this historically challenging year!
 
Special thanks to our sponsors who made this event possible: Banquet Presenting sponsor; Bergstrom; Grove sponsors: Rockford Register Star, Rockford University, WTVO/WQRF; Tree sponsors: Associated Bank, Collins Aerospace; Branch sponsors: Meg & Rob Hodge, GrahamSpencer, LAMAR, Rasmussen University; Apple Barrel sponsors: BMO Harris Bank, Entre Computer Solutions, First Midwest Group, McDonalds, OSF Healthcare, Schmeling Construction, Schnuck Markets, SwedishAmerican Health System; Golden Sponsors: Blue Cross Blue Shield, Crusader Clinic, Illinois Bank & Trust and Reno & Zahm.

Teachers, here's your opportunity to earn a full scholarship for your Master's Degree at Rockford University! The Don Zimmerman Golden Apple Scholarship began in 2020 with Meghan Baylor as the first recipient. Meghan completes her Master's degree in Spring 2022.

Don Zimmerman began teaching locally in 1956 at Rockford West High School as an Orchestra teacher. Don Zimmerman, and his dear friend, Dr. Richard Novak, took their passions for education and turned it into a collective community effort to recognize excellence in teaching with the founding of Golden Apple Foundation in 1997. It began out of Don's garage, sorting apples and celebrating local RPS 205 teachers, and today has grown to supporting all public and ISBE recognized private schools in Winnebago and Boone counties. The Foundation continues its mission of inspiring, celebrating and supporting educational excellence in our community through awards & recognition, the Golden Apple Teacher Academy, classroom grants, and teacher scholarships. 

The Zimmerman family and Golden Apple Foundation honor Don's memory with the Don Zimmerman Golden Apple Scholarship. This scholarship grants an existing teacher a full-tuition scholarship at Rockford University to complete their Master’s degree. Click here for eligibility requirements and more details about the scholarship.

 TIMELINE & PROCESS:
  • Complete application packet and submit to the Golden Apple Foundation office by 5 p.m. on May 20, 2022.
  • Finalists will be contacted by June, 1, 2022 and interviews scheduled.
  • Recipient will be announced by June 15, 2022.

 Ist Don Zimmerman Golden Apple Scholarship recipient - Meghan Baylor 2020

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 2020 GA teachers
Golden Apple Foundation is excited to announce the upcoming Excellence in Education banquet to be held on June 14, 2021 at The Illinois Bank & Trust Pavilion. The banquet will look a little different this year (under 50 people) to balance everyone's safety, but the goal remainds the same, to highlight our local educators and to celebrate their accomplishments. Eric Wilson and Mimi Murphy from WTVO/WQRF will MC the event and video highlights will be shown with each teacher's  suprise in the classroom.
 
The 2020 Golden Apple teachers, Nikki Gallentine of Prairie Hill Elementary, Heather Geary of Whitehead Elementary, Tui Harned of Nashold Early Education Center, Heidi Milner of Ledgewood School and Tiffany Russey of Welsh Elementary will present their speeches along with 2020 Outstanding Principal Erin Salberg of Nashold Early Childhood Center and K-FACT will be presented with the 2020 Jan Jones Educational Service Award. In addtion, the 20 Finailsts will be announced and all local excellence in education will be celebrated during this historically challenging year!
 
The free online program will be available through a link on the Golden Apple Foundation website by June 29 for for sponsors, schools and the community to enjoy. Special thanks to our sponsors who made this event possible: Banquet Presenting sponsor; Bergstrom; Grove sponsors: Rockford Register Star, Rockford University, WTVO/WQRF; Tree sponsors: Associated Bank, Collins Aerospace; Branch sponsors: Meg & Rob Hodge, GrahamSpencer, LAMAR, Rasmussen University; Apple Barrel sponsors: BMO Harris Bank, Entre Computer Solutions, First Midwest Group, McDonalds, OSF Healthcare, Schmeling Construction, Schnuck Markets, SwedishAmerican Health System; Golden Sponsors: Blue Cross Blue Shield, Crusader Clinic, Illinois Bank & Trust and Reno & Zahm.
 
For more information about the banquet contact Golden Apple Foundation at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 815-226-4180.  

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Golden Apple Foundation salutes teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week May 3-7! Thank you for your dedication to the profession and your students each and every year and especially during these very trying times. We will be having teacher give-a-ways to celebrate teachers throughout the week and month. Go to Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/GoldenAppleFoun to take part in these promotions. 

 

 

 

 

 815 Rising Stars winner Kristina

Golden Apple Foundation is pleased to present Kristina Puzin as the 815 Rising Star! Kristina is a freshman at Auburn High School in the CAPA program and she performed her version of “City of Stars” from the movie La La Land and received the most votes from the community.

The 815 Rising Stars talent show began with 120 submissions from local singers, dancers, magicians, bands, and more. The selection committee chose 21 acts that were highlighted in the 815 Rising Stars talent show that aired on Feb. 27, 2021. The individual performances were viewed over 8,500 times combined and were voted on by the community through donations to Golden Apple Foundation. Over the past week, Kristina accrued 3,440 votes.

Golden Apple recognizes all 21 individual performers and groups who shared their talents with the community and we have listed the top 10 acts that received the most votes. All of the top 21 vote totals can be found on their individual pages as well as their videos at goldenappleofrockford.com.

 

Kristina Puzin  3440
Samantha Bonzi  3383
Joslynn Labak  2150
Rockford Dance Co. 1360
Zack Percell  1130
Ben Bathje  1080
Aleyna Yaylaci  620
Clark Kelly 390
Winterland Cake Georgia Buhl, Kayleigh Ratzlaff, Elif Ozkok 382
Logan Tillmon 375 

Thank you to the 815 performers, our sponsors and the community for voting and supporting local talent and teachers through your donations totaling over $16,500. This event was created by a group of Golden Apple teachers and the funds raised will support Golden Apple programming, including teacher grants that provide resources to support teachers' and students' needs during the pandemic. Thank you to our sponsors Wendy’s, Larson & Larson Builders, Ceroni Piping, Atlas Metal Pros, Fitzgerald EquipmentRedd Insurance Group - MeemicWTVO and Fox 39

 

PHOTO: 815 Rising Star Kristina Puzin

Final Top 7 March 6

Congratulations 815 Rising Stars! We are in the last stretch, help your performer to the finish line. TODAY is the last day to view and vote for your favorite performers! Here are performers currently in the lead:

Samantha Bonzi 1568
Joslynn Labak 1480
Ben Bathje 970
Kristina Puzin 870
Rockford Dance Co. 790
Zack Percell 750
Aleyna Yaylaci 600
Clark Kelly 390
Winterland Cake Georgia Buhl, Kayleigh Ratzlaff, Elif Ozkok 382
Bronson Campbell 290

Voting and viewing continues through 11:59 p.m. today at goldenappleofrockford.comThe winner of the 815 Rising Stars talent show will be announced on Sunday, March 7 and the vote tallies of the top 10 will be posted on the Golden Apple website. The top 21 vote totals can be found on their individual pages. 

 

Thank you 815 performers, our sponsors and the community for voting and supporting local talent and teachers through your donations. This event was created by a group of Golden Apple teachers and the funds raised will support Golden Apple programming, including teacher grants that provide resources to support teachers' and students' needs during the pandemic. Thank you to our sponsors Wendy’s, Larson & Larson Builders, Ceroni Piping, Atlas Metal Pros, Fitzgerald EquipmentRedd Insurance Group - MeemicWTVO and Fox 39

 

PHOTO: Top 7 in the lead: Samantha Bonzi, Josylnn Labak, Ben Bathje, Kristina Puzin, Rockford Dance Co., Zack Percell, Aleyna Yaylaci 

 Top 7 March 6
 
Congratulations 815 Rising Stars, the voting has been incredible! Tomorrow is the last day!
Here are performers currently in the lead.
 
Samantha Bonzi 1284
Joslynn Labak 1050
Ben Bathje 945
Kristina Puzin 855
Rockford Dance Co. 710
Zack Percell 700
Aleyna Yaylaci 590
Winterland Cake Georgia Buhl, Kayleigh Ratzlaff, Elif Ozkok 382
Clark Kelly 370
Bronson Campbell 285
 
Voting and viewing continues through 11:59 p.m. on March 6 at goldenappleofrockford.com and all the top 21 vote totals can be found on their individual pages. Thank you 815 performers, our sponsors and the community for voting and supporting local talent and teachers through your donations. This event was created by a group of Golden Apple teachers and the funds raised will support Golden Apple programming, including teacher grants that provide resources to support teachers' and students' needs during the pandemic. Thank you to our sponsors Wendy’s, Larson & Larson Builders, Ceroni Piping, Atlas Metal Pros, Fitzgerald EquipmentRedd Insurance Group - MeemicWTVO and Fox 39
 
PHOTO: Top 7 in the lead: Samantha Bonzi, Josylnn Labak, Ben Bathje, Kristina Puzin, Rockford Dance Co., Zack Percell, Aleyna Yaylaci

Top 7 March 3
 
Congratulations to the 815 Rising Stars! The votes have been tabulated this morning and here are the acts currently in the lead. (March 3)
 
Samantha Bonzi 918
Joslynn Labak 780
Ben Bathje 765
Rockford Dance Co. 640
Kristina Puzin 508
Aleyna Yaylaci 500
Zack Percell 425
Winter Wonderland Cake: Georgia Buhl, Kayleigh Ratzlaff, Elif Ozkok 377
Clark Kelly 350
Chloe Broshous 272 
 
Voting and viewing continues through March 6 at goldenappleofrockford.com and all the top 21 vote totals can be found on their individual pages. Thank you 815 performers, our sponsors and the community for voting and supporting local talent and teachers through your donations. This event was created by a group of Golden Apple teachers and the funds raised will support Golden Apple programming, including teacher grants that provide resources to support teachers' and students' needs during the pandemic. Thank you to our sponsors Wendy’s, Larson & Larson Builders, Ceroni Piping, Atlas Metal Pros, Fitzgerald Equipment, Redd Insurance Group - Meemic, WTVO and Fox 39
 
PHOTO: Top 7 in the lead: Samantha Bonzi, Josylnn Labak, Ben Bathje, Rockford Dance Co., Kristina Puzin, Aleyna Yaylaci, Zack Percell

815 rising stars preshow emily 2

The FREE VIRTUAL815 Rising Stars talent show is premiering at 6:30 p.m. on Feb 27 via a link at goldenappleofrockford.com. The community can vote for their favorite performers through donations to Golden Apple Foundation. The top act wins a trophy and $500 in cash.

Viewing of the show and voting for performers begins on February 27 at 6:30 p.m. through Saturday March 6.

The Top 21 Acts:
Natalie Abramat – theatrical singer with pianist Mrs. Andersen
Ben Bathje – magician with his East High School principal assisting
Aria Beert - singer and musician from Rockford Lutheran High School and Rockford Music Academy
Zack Percell - magician from TnZ Magic
Samantha Bonzi - theatrical singer
Chloe Broshous – lyrical dancer
Georgia Buhl, Kayleigh Ratzlaff, Elif Ozkok – Winter Wonderland Cake bakers and Marshall Middle school students
Bronson Campell – singer and guitar player from Auburn High
Sophie Ellis, Grace Hunt, Ella Lakey, Emi Manaligod, Lauren Parada – Rockford Dance Co. dancers; choreographer: Morgan Carlson
Kerigen Hoffman – lyrical dancer from Pecatonica
Clark Kelly - singer and guitar player
Joslynn Labak - lyrical dancer; choreographer Theresa Northrup
Jordan Lindvall – singer and pianist
Audrey Lou - rapper and singer 
Minimal band – Gregg DeCarlo, Leanne Leonard and Zach DeCarlo
Kristina Puzin - 14 year old singer and pianist from Auburn High
Logan Tillmon soulful singer from Rockford
Jennifer Walker & Ivy – dog trainer and chihuahua saved from a dumpster
Jate Worathepnuthas - harmonica player
Aleyna Yaylaci - 11 year old pianist from Marshall Middle School
Max Zubic - one man band and musician from Hononegah High

The 815 Rising Stars show has the support of our local legends during an exciting pre-show beginning at 6:30 p.m. with performances and inspiring messages from Emily BearJodi Beach, Chris Brady, Harlan JeffersonAlonzo Russell and Rockford’s poet laureate Christine Swanberg.

This event was created by a group of Golden Apple teachers and the funds raised will support Golden Apple programming, including teacher grants that provide resources to support teachers' and students' needs during the pandemic. Thank you to our sponsors Wendy’s, Larson & Larson Builders, Ceroni Piping, Atlas Metal Pros, Fitzgerald EquipmentRedd Insurance Group - MeemicWTVO and Fox 39

 

Over 120 videos were submitted to Golden Apple Foundation and after an arduous selection process, the 21 top performances were selected. These individuals and groups will be highlighted in the FREE VIRTUAL 815 Rising Stars talent show premiering at 6:30 p.m. on Feb 27 via a link at goldenappleofrockford.com. The community can vote for their favorite performers through donations to Golden Apple Foundation. The top act wins a trophy and $500 in cash.

Viewing and voting begins on February 27 at 6:30 through Saturday March 6.

The Top 21 Acts:

Natalie Abramat – theatrical singer with pianist Mrs. Andersen
Ben Bathje – magician with his East High School principal assisting
Aria Beert - singer and musician 
Zack Percell - magician from TnZ Magic
Samantha Bonzi - theatrical singer
Chloe Broshous – lyrical dancer
Georgia Buhl, Kayleigh Ratzlaff, Elif Ozkok – RPS District 205 students and bakers
Bronson Campell – singer and guitar player
Sophie Ellis, Grace Hunt, Ella Lakey, Emi Manaligod, Lauren Parada – Rockford Dance Co. contemporty dancers; choreographer: Morgan Carlson
Kerigen Hoffman – lyrical dancer
Clark Kelly - singer and guitar player
Joslynn Labak - lyrical dancer; choreographer Theresa Northrup
Jordan Lindvall – singer and pianist
Audrey Lou - rapper and singer
Minimal band – Gregg DeCarlo, Leanne Leonard and Zach DeCarlo
Kristina Puzin - 14 year old singer and pianist
Logan Tillmon – soulful singer from Rockford
Jennifer Walker & Ivy – dog trainer and chihuahua saved from a dumpster
Jate Worathepnuthas - harmonica player
Aleyna Yaylaci - 11 year old pianist
Max Zubic - one man band and musician

The 815 Rising Stars show has the support of our local legends during an exciting pre-show beginning at 6:30 p.m. with performances and inspiring messages from Emily Bear, Jodi Beach, Chris Brady, Harlan Jefferson, Alonzo Russell and Rockford’s poet laureate Christine Swanberg.

This event was created by a group of Golden Apple teachers and the funds raised will support Golden Apple programming, including teacher grants that provide resources to support teachers' and students' needs during the pandemic. Thank you to our sponsors Wendy’s, Larson & Larson Builders, Ceroni Piping, Atlas Metal Pros, Fitzgerald Equipment, Redd Insurance Group - Meemic, WTVO and Fox 39

Golden Apple Foundation inspires, celebrates and supports educational excellence in our community.  

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