Golden Horse

The acrylic Golden Apple Horse named “Apple” was recently reveiled at a Public Education Foundation of Marion County event.

Two anonymous Marion County Public School graduates donated $20,000 to the Public Education Foundation of Marion County’s (PEFMC) Grants for Great Ideas program Friday morning.

Gordon Glover, president of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, made the announcement during the event at West Port High School in Ocala. The grant will allocate funding to students in need, including mental health and wellness initiatives. This was a direct tie-in to Golden Apple Teacher of the Year Leah Bender’s platform and her efforts to create new strategies to tackle student mental health.

Also featured at the event was the unveiling of the acrylic Golden Apple Horse named “Apple.” Previous recipients of the Golden Apple title dating back to 1991 collectively chose the name.

Apple was created in partnership with the Marion Cultural Alliance and donated in memory of Whit Palmer, a former PEFMC board member and advocate for public schools.

The horse was brought to life by artist Gene Hotaling, a retired MCPS teacher and 2001 Golden Apple Teacher of the Year.

For more information, contact PEFMC Executive Director Meghan Magamoll at or 352.671.4167.

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