Golden Apple: Melody Hagaman-Burns engaging students to help them succeed

Golden Apple: Melody Hagaman-Burns
Golden Apple: Melody Hagaman-Burns

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – A Las Cruces high school teacher makes it a point to talk to every student three minutes a week.

It’s one of the reasons she earned a Golden Apple this year.

Melody Hagaman-Burns knows she picked the right profession.

“I just always loved learning so teachers had always been the heroes, and I thought, what better profession than instilling knowledge and getting them excited about the world?” Hagaman-Burns said.

Hagaman-Burns teaches computer science at Centennial High School in Las Cruces.

“Programming is nicer because it’s everywhere and students know that. They use technology so I have a little advantage in that they are already engaged and know what’s going on,” Hagaman-Burns said.

She has been teaching for seven years and says getting to know each student is very important.

“I try to talk to each student three minutes a week and kind of make a checklist on my roll sheet of who I’ve gone through,” Hagaman-Burns said. “Just holding conversations, you get to know so much.”

Hagaman-Burns also said she tries to stay on top of pop culture.

“Watching MTV and listening to their music just so we know what’s gong on and what’s relevant in their lives,” Hagaman-Burns said.

She said one student four years ago reminds her why she loves being a teacher.

“He didn’t know why he was there. He had never been in honors classes before. He didn’t think he was very smart and I told him, ‘Someone had to believe you were prepared to be in this class or  you wouldn’t be in here, and we’re going to make sure that you are,'” Hagaman-Burns said.

She says the student is now getting a degree in computer science.

Hagaman-Burns said she is honored to be a Golden Apple teacher.

She also works with the University of Virginia’s Tapestry Program, teaching others how to recruit girls and minorities into STEM. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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