HORSEHEADS, N.Y. (WETM) – Meet John Liquori, sixth grade ELA and social studies teacher at Horseheads Intermediate and March’s Golden Apple Award recipient.

“I am a teacher that values relationships. I want students to come into the classroom and want to be there,” Liquori said.

Parents and students agree he is an amazing educator with a big heart, saying he goes above and beyond for his students, he never quits on them and he is the best teacher they have every had.

“I would say I am an innovative teacher, who uses a lot of 21st Century learning techniques especially with blended learning. I would also say I am a teacher that values making the curriculum relevant,” Liquori added.

He makes learning interactive and fun, putting a smile on his student’s faces. These testaments from his students show he puts his students first.

Through a Harry Potter-themed classroom, he gets his students excited about learning and reading. He became a teacher because of his seventh-grade teacher. She made the classroom a place Liquori wanted to be every day and he knew he wanted to do the same for others.

“My students motivate and inspire me, hands down. I learn more from them than they probably learn from me,” Liquori stated.

His primary goal and focus is teaching his kids how to be global citizens who learn critical skills to be effective community members.

“I want them to be able to problem-solve. I want them to be able to interact with others. I want them to be able to work as a team. I want them to be able to take risks. I just want them to have that 21st Century mindset that will make them successful. If they have that mindset, then the curriculum will take care of itself,” Liquori said.

Liquori grew up watching the Golden Apple Award and knew he wanted to win the award someday, but the true prize lies in his classroom. He enjoys watching his students thrive and succeed as well as develop into budding young adults.

“But it is also a testament that I am doing what I need to do and doing right by my students and making sure they have what they need. That’s ultimately what matters,” Liquori added.

He is passionate, persistent and pursues excellence in teaching. His message to his kids: always be yourself.

“I want my kids to know that they matter. I want my kids to know that they are important. I want my kids to know that they can do anything as long as they put their mind to it and perservere. I want my kids to know that I will always be their champion,” Liquori concluded.