Photo: (Sarrah Peters/Messenger) Kathy Skipper poses for photo in her West End Elementary School Counseling office.
By Sarrah Peters/News Editor
At about 30 years old, Kathy Skipper decided she wanted a career change from working in a water board’s office. She returned to school and became an elementary school teacher at West End Elementary School.
After nearly 10 years as a teacher, she decided to change jobs once again and became the school’s counselor.
“I thought, I have 25 kids in my class, if I can help 450 kids that would be great.”
Skipper certainly goes above and beyond to make sure the students have everything they need. One of the projects she implemented was a health care fair, where students have different health risks assessed at each booth in the fair. Skipper said the health fair was and remains a success. One of the first years she held the fair, a dentist assessed the students and found many cavities. Skipper has even established a telecommunications program for the school to help with mental health.
For students in need, Skipper keeps a clothes closet. She hosts coat and shoe drives to make sure she can provide students in need with appropriate clothes. She even mentioned measuring students’ feet to make sure the appropriate shoe size was purchased.
With another program Skipper provides food for children to take with them on the weekends, to make sure that none of her students go hungry. She runs programs to provide Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, as well as Christmas presents to families. On occasion, she has even delivered the presents herself.
When donated soap, laundry detergent or other items are not covered by food stamps, Skipper and the school’s resource officer will take road trips to deliver items to the people in the community who might need them most.
She also covers topics with the students including manners, bus safety, bullying, study skills and more.
“The classroom was predictable, but with counseling you never know what to expect,” said Skipper.
Skipper is determined to keep doing all she can to make her students feel safe.
“If they need something, I try to work around and get it,” said Skipper. “I ask ‘What’s going on?’ and ‘How can I help?”
Most importantly, all that Skipper does is “done from the heart.”