A first-grade teacher in Sleepy Eye has dedicated decades to make learning fun and active.

Mrs. Diane Lax's first grade class at St. Mary's Catholic School in Sleepy Eye is filled with activity.

Mrs. Lax said, "Their energy feeds me. When they're having fun, I'm having fun."

Mrs. Lax is a 31–year veteran of the classroom, now teaching some of the children of her former students.

Mrs. Lax said, "The joy and the warmth I feel in teaching in a small school like this is that family atmosphere, being able to have taught students that now I'm teaching their children."

Her curriculum includes songs, sayings and a lot of movement.

Part of the joy of teaching for Mrs. Lax isn't just creating lifelong learners, but studious readers as well.

Mrs. Lax said, "I love phonics, I love to teach them phonics and reading. In essence, a lot of people think phonics can be a kind of a humdrum kind of thing, but I love to make it come alive."

And like any good teacher, she's constantly learning, looking for new ways to reach and help students succeed in the class.

St. Mary's Elementary School Principal Mary Gangelhoff said, "She is willing to try new ideas and new activities in her classroom, which is really important as an educator because it's so easy to be status quo."

With a dedication to making learning fun, that's what earns Mrs. Lax a Golden Apple award.

KEYC News 12