CHADRON – Chadron State College alumna and Chadron High School Counselor Loni Watson was named the Nebraska High School Counselor of the Year by the Nebraska Department of Education in November.
“I'm incredibly humbled by the award. There are so many great school counselors doing amazing work with students. Working with the staff at CHS is a privilege. I truly think we have the best staff in the state,” Watson said.
Sometime in the spring, Nebraska’s candidate to compete at the national level will be chosen from the elementary, middle school and high school counseling honorees, according to Watson.
CHS Principal Jerry Mack, who nominated Watson, praises her skillful use of technology and social media as keys to her success with parents and helping students maintain mental health and prepare for careers or college. Positive impacts from Watson’s innovations have been felt throughout the school, according to Mack.
Watson said she has a simple aim: To support students to the best of her ability.
“My goals always include directly impacting as many CHS students as possible and working to provide access to a better and more fulfilling life. School counselors wear a lot of hats. I help students solve problems and make informed decisions. I am a teacher at heart, and love seeing the growth of each student every year academically, emotionally, and socially,” Watson said.
Watson, who has earned three degrees from CSC, said her education helped prepare her for a successful career.
“My first graduate degree in school administration prepared me in various topics that directly apply to my role as a school counselor. Then, my counseling degree and the amazing educators at CSC, taught me how to work counseling theories and ethical practices into my daily work. They continue to be a much needed personal and professional resource and I can't thank them enough,” Watson said.
CHS English teacher Willie Uhing, in his letter supporting her nomination, said Watson’s past few years of accomplishments read like an educator’s complete career list.
“Mrs. Watson makes people light up when in her presence, because they feel valued, needed, and ultimately, good,” Uhing wrote.
In her letter of support, Brenda Lanphear, English teacher and Speech team coach, said Watson’s office is buzzing with activity before, during, and after school.
“Loni is positive and available to the entire student body of Chadron High. Through it all, she never fails to listen carefully and respond justly to student opinions and concerns. She is acutely intelligent and briskly purposeful in her work,” Lanphear wrote.
—Tena L. Cook, Marketing Coordinator