Parents thank Roanoke County school employees with surprise gifts

What started as a Facebook group for parents to talk about masks in schools evolved into a grassroots effort to say ‘thank you’

What started as a Facebook group for parents to talk about masks in schools evolved into a grassroots effort to say ‘thank you’

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. – It’s been a long couple of years for all of us but teachers, counselors, bus drivers and more have taken it all in stride, while also caring for our kids.

School counselors at Hidden Valley High School got a surprise delivery during School Counselors’ Week. All four women got a special care package, put together by parents.

“Actually, I’m getting emotional because I mean, you don’t always get that encouragement as a counselor and they’re rough days at times. There are hard times where you’ve experienced students going through hurts, through trauma, through pain. So it’s very encouraging to feel that love,” said Christina Bamber, Hidden Valley High School counseling coordinator.

Bamber said the pandemic has been challenging for everyone.

“It is a revolving process as we are relearning how to counsel in unique situations every day,” said Bamber. “Students are really discovering themselves at this point. There are students who learn, ‘Wow, online is the way to go for me’ and there are students who have learned, ‘I really need to see my teacher. I really need to be in the classroom.’”

For parents like Samantha Getz, who delivered the care packages Friday, saying thank you is important.

“When COVID hit my son was a freshman, and we hadn’t been in high school in a while so we didn’t really know how to navigate it. He was always a straight-A student. The virtual learning just didn’t agree with him. Everybody was busy, but our counselor took the time out to get all of his teachers together to call me, to have us all on a group call, to figure out what we needed to do and he was successful at it,” said Getz.

What started as a Facebook group for parents to talk about masks in schools, has evolved into a grassroots effort to say thank you. Parents across Roanoke County have organized different ways to give back. Flowers for school nurses and cookies for custodians are some of the past surprise efforts.

“It’s not just one person. It has to be the teachers, the counselors, the principal, it’s all a team effort. That’s why I love Hidden Valley because of all my years here, it’s always been like that,” said Getz.

“Counselors wear many hats. We make sure students get to the right places in the right classes. We are background investigators to make sure you know everything is working to align them with education and the plans for graduation,” said Bamber.

This week, parents are doing Brownies for Bus Drivers. The goal is to show appreciation for every department in the school system over the coming weeks.


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