Two and a half years ago, I closed a chapter of my life and started a new one. I started a whole new career in a place I didn't know a soul. I was desperate for change and eager to learn. I traded in my DSM as a mental health counselor and entered the school counseling world! I still had to travel half an hour to work everyday, and I had to get up earlier, and I couldn't wear jeans anymore. I didn't know how much I'd love it, but like I said, I was eager and ready!
The next two school years I had the wonderful experience of working with some of the best in the business, seeing how things really work in a school, gaining some unforgettable relationships with some of the most amazing young adults, and doing what I could to help my team, my students, and my school.
|Graduation (morning) 2016|
Slowly my wardrobe grew and I now have approximately 700 Hickory High t-shirts and random garnet & gold wardrobe staples and accessories. When people around town (Lincolnton) would see the magnet on my car of the Hickory High logo, they'd ask, "Why do you have THAT on there?" and my reply would always be "That's my school!" and I meant it. Hickory High had become my new home. I was proud of my school and my students. I loved my job. I didn't love the commute, but I loved working in Hickory, you know, near Hobby Lobby & Target. If I'm going to live in Lincolnton without sufficient shopping, I might as well work in a town that I can shop in, amiright?!
I gained some close friendships at Hickory High in my coworkers, but what I value the most is the relationships I formed with students who (I feel) really needed me and I was able to help. I know I didn't get to "save" them all. Heck, I know some of my students didn't even graduate. But don't think I wouldn't stop on the side of 127 if I saw them walking down the road to ask them why their butt isn't in school. I love my kids. I truly care about my kids. I will be in their corner, root for them, advocate for them, and do whatever I am able to see them succeed. Trust and believe that. I love working in such a diverse environment. Hickory has it all. The low of the lows, the high of the highs. (Is that a saying? If not, you get what I'm saying.) I mean that in academics, as well as in socioeconomic status. It has students who can't read on a middle school level. We have students who can get into whatever college they want. We have homeless students. We have students who live in mansions. I LOVE the diversity at Hickory High. I think because it reminds me so much of the diversity at Lincolnton High. I'm a sucker for oneness, living together, and learning from each other.
I have learned through my time at Hickory High School that I can. I can learn. I can try. I can do. I will fail. I will learn lessons. I will succeed. I also learned that home is where you make it.
|My HHS baby shower in January 2016|
June 14th was my last day as a Hickory High Red Tornado. It was a very sad day for me, but it helped that I was hurrying to pack up and head out because the building didn't have air conditioning, haha!! I will obviously miss it, but am excited to start a new chapter in my career, as a Fred T. Foard Tiger! I cannot wait to see what the future holds for me there. I've heard nothing but great things about the school. Hickory will obviously hold a special place in my heart, but home is where you make it. :)
*Funny story: Returning from maternity leave, I needed to pump at work to continue to breastfeed KJ. Twice a day, I had to go in my office, lock the door, pump, and pretend I wasn't there. The first time I did, I must have forgotten to put a sign on my door, so my amazing pal, Frank Pait, put this sign on my door. Now that's love!! I used it every pump session for the rest of the year. :) I am going to miss the friendships and moments such as this-- just simple signs that say, "I got your back." Poor Mr. Pait, surrounded by all those women!! Haha!!