Golden Apple: Sandra Hayes

(Fort Gordon, GA)

Sandra Hayes has a great group of pre-k students at Freedom Park Elementary School.  And it's no surprise that she ended up here. She's been working with young people for most of her life.

"It started with my mom," Hayes says. " I used to help her when I was young, babysit the kids in the neighborhood. I started with Head Start. I'd been with Head Start for 25 years. Then I decided to move on and head to Freedom Park."

These bright youngsters know that when they come to Ms. Hayes' classroom, it's time to get serious about learning.

"We sit down and we talk about our classroom rules and we talk about how we respect each other, and then we go from there."

Ms. Hayes is always concerned about her students. If they have to miss a day, she makes sure to check with the family to make sure everything is okay.

"I guess I got that from my mom. She said, what people do for you, you return the favor back to them.  I love working with kids. When they're out sick, something's gotta be wrong."

When we gave the Golden Apple to Ms. Hayes, leaders from all over Fort Gordon showed up to show their support. They know that the next group of leaders is going to come from her classroom.

"I want them to go on and finish school, go to college, and be somebody they want to be: nurse, doctor, lawyer," she says. "Maybe one of them might be our president."

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