Dormont Teacher Wins Golden Apple Award
Diane Veri's career started by teaching toy store customers how to use an Apple II. She's now a Golden Apple winner.
When Diane Veri left St. Bernard’s school in Mt. Lebanon for a fire drill in March, she expected to see students and fellow teachers outside—but she didn’t expect them to be cheering for her.
The technology teacher had won the Diocese of Pittsburgh Golden Apple Award for 2012, and the St. Bernard community held the mock fire drill to surprise her with the news.
“I was overwhelmed, to say the least,” Veri said. “It is, truly, an honor.”
This is the first time Veri has won the Golden Apple, and she is the first St. Bernard’s teacher to win the award in about nine years. It’s also her first time to be nominated.
Not too shabby for a technology teacher who hadn’t intended on teaching technology.
Veri’s first “tech” job was at a toy store in South Hills Village Mall, where she was in charge of showing customers how to use an Apple II and a Commodore 64.
From there, she went on to manage a computer store, and then to open her own company, Diane Veri Associates, where she and a small staff built computer labs and set up office computers, mainly for churches and small businesses.
A St. Bernard’s alum herself, Veri occasionally assisted with computer classes at the school. She liked it so much that she went back to Robert Morris University for a degree in Business and Information Technology and a K-12 teaching certification.
“It’s funny,” she said. “I just happened to get this job at this toy store and was willing to learn it, and it led to all this.”
She currently teaches computer classes for about 300 children in kindergarten through eighth grade, and she also is the technology coordinator and network administrator for the parish.
Her duties at St. Bernard’s keep her busy, but that doesn’t stop her from working in the community as well.
As a lifelong Dormont resident, Veri and all three of her children are Keystone Oaks graduates. She is a past president of the Kelton Elementary PTA and of the Keystone Oaks Marching Band Association.
She is currently the chairperson for the Dormont Day Committee, teaches catechism classes at St. Bernard’s, works the fish frys and also is the chairperson of St. Bernard’s fall auction.
Veri has taught at St. Bernard’s for 14 years, and principal Dan Wagner describes her as a terrific teacher who never stops volunteering.
“She’s really the glue for the school,” Wagner said. “She’s a wonderful person with a huge heart. She is such an asset to the school and such a valuable person that we have.”
Veri says volunteerism is just embedded in who she is.
“I had one person ask me just what I’d done that I had to do so much community service,” she joked. “Truthfully, I was brought up by a mother who also was very involved in the community. I believe that whatever God gives you, you should give back, no matter what it is.”
That’s something she tries to instill in her students as well.
“You hope you can be an inspiration for someone, and if they take a little piece of something away, then you’ve done your job,” she said.