Chadron High School Counselor Loni Watson recently received the 2022 Counseling Excellence Award from the Nebraska State College System.
Watson, who has worked for Chadron Public Schools for nine years, said the recognition was humbling.
“I’m honored to be recognized by the Nebraska State College System, which I am a proud product of. Especially in a state with such an amazing cohort of counselors who advocate for students of all backgrounds,” she said.
She has earned three degrees from CSC: A bachelor’s degree in 2008, a master’s in Administration in 2013, and a master’s in School Counseling in 2017.
Watson serves on the Nebraska School Counselor’s Association (NSCA) board, an experience she said has allowed her to meet and network with counselors across the state. She received the NSCS honor at the NSCA conference where she shared her thoughts about affordable education with her colleagues.
“I reminded my colleagues how amazing the state colleges are and how truly important affordable education is,” she said. “I know I’m biased being a product of a mother without a degree, knowing what it feels like to buy groceries with a pink food stamp booklet or EBT card. I am forever thankful for an affordable education for students in our state.”
After graduating from CSC and before returning to Chadron, she was a math teacher and coach in eastern Nebraska schools including Plattsmouth, Blair, and Seward.
“I adored my experience. While teaching math it became extremely evident to me that it is impossible to learn at a high level without feeling good physically and mentally. Although I loved teaching math, I found something I was even more passionate about: Advocating for all kids academically, as well as emotionally,” Watson said.
After making a recent presentation in Omaha, Watson said numerous counselors commended CHS for its work and asked how to implement similar programs in their communities.
“I can’t speak highly enough of Chadron Public Schools and our amazing community support and trust. I truly cannot imagine a better place to work and raise my kids,” Watson said. “I’m incredibly proud of Chadron Public Schools and the efforts we’ve made K-12 in the last five years to advocate for every child.”