We tend to think of those two entities as separate — perhaps even at odds. Sometimes we hear students should spend more time hitting the books than playing ball, or we fear that academic standards are compromised so that students struggling in class can still play ball for their schools' bragging rights.
Against that background, we take special note of two awards programs. One is the 22nd Annual Golden Apple Teachers of Distinction awards, sponsored by the Collier County Education Foundation. The other is the High School Players of the Year, this time for winter sports, sponsored by this newspaper.
Close reading of the profiles of the award winners turn up something refreshing. The winners in both arenas have confronted and overcome challenges. One teacher overcame his own language barrier to excel at teaching Spanish. A basketball star worked to develop a knack for uplifting and inspiring fellow players.
Teachers and athletes alike rely on teamwork for success.
They are accustomed to hard work and discipline.
They are leaders.
They love what they do and have earned the applause and respect of their peers and many others.
Then again, education is an education.
One more time we salute the Collier County Golden Apple winners: Sheila Snyder of Palmetto Elementary School; Maria Lana Christmas of Vineyards Elementary; Darlene R. Crete of Lorenzo Walker Technical High; Michal Durik of Barron Collier High; Paul G. Horne of Naples High; and Eileen Schoenknecht of Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology.
And we salute the Daily News Outstanding High School Athletes for winter sports: Deion Clark, Barron Collier;
Emily Lines, First Baptist Academy; Eddie Tovar, Golden Gate; and Ali Rogers and Mitch Haan, Gulf Coast.
One more thing these award-winners have in common: Their work to improve goes on.