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Hannah Scully and Chris Lappa receive WRAL Teacher of the Week Awards

In early May, teachers across the nation celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week, a well-deserved week of recognition for their work inside and outside of the classroom. But, for two Orange County Schools teachers, the recognition didn’t end there! 

Hannah Scully of Central Elementary School and Chris Lappa of Cedar Ridge High School were surprised with the WRAL Teacher of the Week award, presented by news anchor Ken Smith. 

Scully and Lappa’s recognition as recipients of the WRAL Teacher of the Week award speaks volumes to their work and impact as educators as this acknowledgement came following recommendations from students and peers alike. 

Receiving the WRAL Teacher of the Week award came shortly after Hannah Scully was named the 2024-25 Central Elementary School Teacher of the Year, an accolade she said she was honored to even be nominated for by her colleagues. 

“It means a lot. It’s awesome to be honored by your fellow staff members and colleagues,” she said. “I was excited to even be nominated. This is the first year I’m even eligible, so it was exciting to even be chosen.”

Although Scully has only been teaching for four years, which have all been at Central Elementary, she always knew that she wanted to be an educator following a long line of educators in her family. 

With Scully’s lineage of educators in her family combined with helping other people during high school and her student teaching years, being able to help people solve their problems, she said, has been very rewarding for her. 

“[There’s] nothing better than that lightbulb moment when a kid figures it out,” Scully said.

Unlike Scully, the path to education looked a bit different for Lappa as he didn’t discover his passion for teaching until late in life. While working other jobs, Lappa said he never felt fulfilled in his work, until the day he came across substitute teaching. 

“I probably got more fulfillment in that one day of substitute teaching than I did in all the years I did anything else,” Lappa said. “So that kind of told me that this is right for me. I never looked back.”

Amidst his feeling of fulfillment when it came to being an educator, Lappa found himself at Cedar Ridge High as a Social Studies teacher where he’s been teaching for the last 13 years.

Civics, Economics and Government has always been a passion for Chris Lappa, so taking on the responsibility of curating the curriculum for the Economics and Personal Finance course was an easy choice for him 

“I was the go-to guy but I was happy to [create the curriculum]. I love the content”, he said. 

Orange County Schools teachers continuously prove to go above and beyond, being exemplary role models for their students and colleagues every day, and Hannah Scully and Chris Lappa are true examples of this work. Congratulations on being named the WRAL Teachers of the Week!