Lured by a phony request to attend a meeting, Deerfield High School dance teacher Nikki Lazzaretto walked into the school auditorium to find it filled with family, friends, students, colleagues and administrators who erupted with cheers and applause at her arrival, as members of the Deerfield band struck up the Warriors fight song. Lazzaretto clapped a hand over her mouth and seemed to be knocked back a step in shock as it dawned on her: She’d won a Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching.

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