Golden Apple Award: Ridgeland High School’s Julie Butler

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ROSSVILLE, GA, (WDEF) – Julie Butler was born to teach, but she postponed her own higher education until her youngest daughter was a teenager. Students and faculty at Ridgeland High School know it was worth the wait. Ms. Butler’s heart of gold earned her the Golden Apple Award.

Karen Hughes is the Principal at Ridgeland.

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Hughes says, “She (Butler)  makes a tremendous difference as far as building relationships with our kids and meeting their individualized needs. She goes above and beyond. I could not select someone more deserving of this award or recognition.”

When asks to describe herself, Ms. Butler says, “Julie Butler is a teacher who loves her students very much, and I don’t do this job for the recognition so this has been the biggest surprise.”

Julie’s daughter Brittany, now a teacher herself, says, “I was the biological child of that wonderful woman. I can definitely tell you that she definitely puts others first. She waited until we got old enough to take care of ourselves (middle and high school) and she went back for her education. We grew up with nothing, so she struggled her whole life, and it’s really nice that she gets this, and she is definitely is the very last one to leave because I ride with her.”

Julie explains, “I got married right out of high school, and I had my family, my two girls, and then I promised myself when my youngest daughter Brittany turned 13 I would go back to college to teach.”

She concludes, “This year has been a very tough year with the pandemic, but the true meaning of, you know, things happen. We just pick up the pieces and move on, and we will be successful. We will make it through this.  I tell my students that each day. I truly want my students to know that they are number one. They can be successful. They can do anything that they put their mind to. If they try, then they will make it.

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Andrew Harrison is happy to be back home! He grew up in Chattanooga and is a proud graduate of East Brainerd Elementary and McCallie School. He is a longtime member of St. Martin's Episcopal Church. Andrew started as a studio camera operator at WTVC in Chattanooga, and has 25 years of experience in television. He's worked as photographer, producer, reporter and anchor. Andrew spent the last 20 years in Mississippi, the last 7 anchoring the morning news in Jackson. It's a dynamic market, with no shortage of news, but Andrew is a Tennessean at heart. He's won numerous AP awards for reporting, including Best Franchise for Large Market Mississippi Stations. He was voted the Mississippi Delta's Favorite News Personality. (in 2008) Andrew is a devoted husband and father of two. His wife, Tonya is also from Tennessee. He's a big Titans, Grizzlies and Predators fan, and when it comes to baseball, the Braves will always be number one. You can e-mail him at aharrison@wdef.com.