JOSEPH — As area educators were returning to their classrooms in September, Community Bank was collecting nominations for its new Apple Appreciation Awards.

The bank congratulated teachers with the most nominations collected in the communities where it has branches. The winners in schools in Umatilla and Morrow counties include Makenna Ramos (Pendleton), Meghan Dixon (Hermiston), Jeff Bishop (Milton-Freewater) and Sarah Matheny (Heppner). In addition to shining a spotlight on current kindergarten through 12th grade teachers in local communities, the award also served to support school clubs. The winning teacher from each Community Bank location was presented with an Apple Appreciation Award trophy and asked to choose a club or student organization at their school to receive a $200 donation from the bank.

A kindergarten teacher at Pendleton Early Learning Center, Ramos designated the $200 to go toward materials for sensory play at the Little Buck Room at the Learning Center. Comments about Ramos included, “She has a heart of gold and goes above and beyond for her little kindergartners.” In addition, she is said to see the potential in all her students.

Dixon, a fourth-grade teacher at Hermiston’s Desert View Elementary School, selected the school’s Robotics Club as the recipient of the bank’s donation. Dixon was noted for her hard work and going the extra step. “She goes out of her way to not only teach her students but to build a community of caring students in her classroom,” the bank shared from a voter.

Bishop, who teaches fifth grade at Ferndale Elementary School in Milton-Freewater, chose the Ferndale Elementary Parent-Teacher Organization to receive the donated funds. In nominating Bishop, it was said he relates well to the students and inspires kids in wanting to be at school.

A first-grade teacher at Heppner Elementary School, Matheny chose the Heppner Parent Teacher Club to benefit from the bank donation. Matheny reportedly goes above and beyond for all of her students, and she helps them succeed as students and individuals.

The bank anticipates continuing the Apple Appreciation Awards each fall with plans to expand the nomination radius to include all schools within the counties where Community Bank does business.

Community Bank was founded in 1955 by a group of Joseph business leaders as the Bank of Wallowa County. Since then, it has grown across the region, including branches in Pendleton, Hermiston, Heppner and Milton-Freewater.

For more information, contact Tom Moran, president and CEO, at 509-525-9860 or

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