Leonardtown, MD- St. Mary’s Ryken’s own Mr. Luke Young is one of only 10 teachers in the Archdiocese of Washington to be awarded the Golden Apple. President Rick Wood and Principal Catherine Bowes surprised Mr. Young at his home with a balloon bouquet and a cake to celebrate with the family.
As a Golden Apple Award winner, Mr. Young, is recognized for his outstanding teaching accomplishments and testimony to the engagement and dedication to Catholic education.
“To me, Luke is everything a Catholic school teacher should be,” said Campus Chaplain, Father Scott Woods. “He has a deep love of the Lord that is expressed in the daily living of his faith. He often says that one of the things that most motivates him, to pray every day, to attend daily Mass as often as he can, and to strive for Holiness, is his desire to live what he teaches his students.”
Mr. Young’s impact on our students goes beyond those he is assigned to teach. Mr. Young is also the co-moderator of SMR’ s Student Government Association/Student Council. In bringing this group together – they were previously two separate entities as they are on many high school campuses — Mr. Young increased student unity for student programming decision-making. Mr. Young helped change the purpose and direction of the club by focusing the group on being part of policy issues that affect students, being more involved in service projects and finding avenues to create a positive student voice in our school. The impact of his leadership of this student group has been key to positively addressing campus needs. In the spring of 2018, when many students “Walked Out” nationally to protest student and gun violence, the SGA organized a “Walk Up,” in which members of the student body approached other students they witnessed doing acts of kindness, recognized them, and gave them a sticker of the school’s Knight mascot. In this activity, our students were engaged in realizing their own daily responsibility to being proponents of love rather than hate.
“Mr. Young is a highly respected adult leader on the SMR campus andleads our studentsto make positive changes in our school community,” said Principal Bowes.
Mr. Young’s Department Chairperson, Mr. John Olon, states, “Through the coherence ofwhat Luke teaches in the classroom with his personal witness, students’ lives are changedby authentically wrestling with the ‘big’ issues of being human.Nothing is oreimportant than serving God through dedication to the pursuit of one’s vocation. Mr. Young’s vocation is teaching and SMR is blessed to provide a platform for his vocation.”
This year marks the twelfth annual celebration of this prestigious award. Luke Young is one of ten awardees selected from among a field of many outstanding teachers from the Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Washington. His dedication to academic excellence and Catholic identity is a model of commitment to the educational equity and excellence for all students.