There are so many awesome things about this video: honoring a valued education professional, the surprise assembly, the production value, the marching band, the impeccable meme usage, but the best thing is the student-led security detail!

The Golden Apple Foundation honors the best teachers and education leaders around the state. Last week I told you about the local teachers who won the award and videos of the amazing surprise ceremonies at their respective schools. You should definitely check that out!

There’s also an award for excellence in leadership. Out of over 100 nominees, one person was chosen for grades 4-8, and one person for grades 9-12.

The Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Leadership recipients receive a cash award of $10,000, with $5,000 for the school leader and $5,000 to the school for a project of the recipient’s choosing.

One of those winners was Westmont High School pincipal Jack Baldermann. Just take a look at that surprise assembly above. It’s so clear he’s loved and respected by his staff and students.

Among the accolades for Baldermann is his work at educational equality, “(his) praise is backed by Westmont’s stunning graduation rates: 100 percent of Black and Latinx students have graduated in the past nine years, and the overall school graduation rate is 99 percent. Westmont also won the National Blue Ribbon Award and is listed as the most diverse high school with the highest poverty rate from Illinois to earn the award in the past two decades. Westmont also ranks number one in Illinois for regular schools for inclusivity, and is in the top one percent in the nation.

Congarts to Mr. Balermann and to the Westmont High community!