Charter employee honored with Tri-City Crystal Apple Award

Tyler Richardson, Tri-City HeraldMarch 13, 2014 

Tri City Americans vs Everett Silvertips 3/7/2014

Lloyd Swain, right, of Charter Communications recieves the Special Recognition Award from Bruce Hawkins, superintendent of Educational Service District 123, at Thursday's Crystal Apple Awards ceremony in Pasco.

SCOTT BUTNER

Lloyd Swain isn't used to being the center of attention at the Tri-City Crystal Apple Award ceremony.

For the last 16 years, the Charter Communications employee has helped film the event honoring local teachers and edit it for the local public access channel.

Swain received a standing ovation at Thursday's ceremony as he was honored with this year's Special Achievement Award.

The award is a tightly guarded secret. Swain had no idea the Crystal Apple planning committee would even consider him.

"I usually am the one behind the camera. It's shocking," said Swain, 65. "I am just totally surprised about this. Our company believes in education and honoring teachers. It's a great recognition."

Swain was honored for his years of service helping to broadcast the event on local television, as well as his hard work in the community for Charter, said Bruce Hawkins, superintendent of Educational Service District 123.

Hawkins told the crowd of more than 200 in the Gjerde Center at Columbia Basin College that Swain helps give a voice to the community and is a significant part of the Crystal Apple program.

Swain has worked at Charter since 1984, after working at Battelle for more than a decade, he said. He is the public access manager and helps broadcast local programming.

"We call him the man behind the camera," Hawkins said. "He is just genuine. When he supports things it comes from the heart. For us to have this program up to where people can view it is a real tribute to educators."

Swain was perched on a platform filming the event when Hawkins began to introduce him.

Near the end of the introduction, Swain started to realize Hawkins may be talking about him, he said. His hunch was confirmed when an ESD 123 employee walked over, grabbed his hand and led him toward the stage.

Swain's family was on hand to see him receive the award. Shortly after he got on stage, he went right back to work, pulling down a projector so the crowd could watch a video.

Getting the chance to share the stage with the local teachers who were also honored at the ceremony is something Swain will remember for the rest of his life, he said.

"Teaching is not easy. The dedication these people show is amazing," he said. "I am just stunned. I am a believer in education and we all fell in love with the chance to recognize (the teachers)."

For most of Thursday's ceremony, superintendents from seven Tri-City school districts introduced the 10 teachers who received Crystal Apple awards for the positive impact they have had on students. There have been 191 teachers honored to date.

Teachers got a $1,000 check, Tri-City sports tickets and other items for winning.

The teachers honored were:

-- Gary Eby, social studies and AP history teacher at Columbia High School.

-- Christine Witt, sixth- and seventh-grade language arts teacher at Finley Middle School.

-- Linda Willingham, family & consumer science and child psychology teacher at Kamiakin High School.

-- Mary Biehn, anatomy & physiology and biology teacher at Southridge High School.

-- Holli Prior, geometry, algebra and Knowledge Bowl teacher at Kiona-Benton City High School.

-- Judy Booker, kindergarten teacher at Connell Elementary School.

-- M. Seth Johnson, social studies teacher at New Horizons High School.

-- Jill McColloch, first-grade reading and first- through third-grade literacy intervention teacher at Rowena Chess Elementary School.

-- David Holmberg, eighth-grade pre-algebra and intervention teacher at Carmichael Middle School.

-- Jan Barber, first- and fourth-grade teacher at Lewis & Clark Elementary School.

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