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Several educators were recognized for their excellence and leadership in Catholic schools across the midstate in a ceremony by the Harrisburg diocese.

Bishop Ronald Gainer helped honor seven teachers with the Golden Apple Award in a ceremony May 9 at the Cardinal Keeler Center in Harrisburg.

“Children blossoming is an apt image for what we do in our Catholic schools,” Gainer said in a news release. “These teachers provide an environment and a personal relationship that will allow these young lives to blossom fully as human persons and as persons with immortal souls to grow to full stature in Christ.”

Each recipient was awarded  a certificate of achievement, a $5,000 cash prize, a Golden Apple  with a 24-carat gold cross and a photo with Bishop Gainer.

“These teachers we honor are involved in innovative and challenging programs for their students," said the Rev. Edwin Quinlan, secretary of education for the diocese, in a news release. "They go beyond the ordinary to make sure that each of their students is reached with the depth of education that they need.”

Recipients were nominated by a parent, student or fellow teacher.

The seven educators include second-grade teachers, middle and high school teachers and a high school principal. Combined, the educators have 153 years of teaching experience, according to the release.

Three of the educators serve Catholic schools in York County, including Amy Erb, a second-grade teacher at St. Joseph School in Springettsbury Township.

Erb said she did not expect the award after being nominated by several fellow teachers, but it is an honor.

"It's quite humbling," she said, "I just love doing what I love to do."

The York native attended St. Joseph's when she was a child and said she didn't see herself returning again to become a teacher but returned  from Lancaster City School District to have her four children attend York Catholic.

Erb said she feels especially grateful to teach second grade, which includes teaching about the holy sacraments of reconciliation and first communion.

The following teachers were honored:

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