Capistrano Union High School counselor Shannon Halbert cried tears of joy and appreciation on Friday, April 14.
Halbert was presented a recognition award by State Assemblymember Laurie Davies for her years of helping out students at the alternative school in San Juan Capistrano.
The award was given after Halbert’s coworkers contacted Davies’ office concerning a recognition as Halbert has been nominated for Teacher of the Year awards by her coworkers but never won because she is not a teacher.
Halbert’s husband and son, as well as students, Principal Brittany Casey, and other people were on hand for the celebration.
Though generally not one to seek the spotlight, Halbert said she recalled her mother’s advice when told of Davies’ recognition beforehand.
“Anytime someone wants to give you love, you better take it because sometimes it doesn’t always come around,” Halbert said.
“When I came to this school 15 years ago, I didn’t know how I’d be with high school kids. I worked with middle school kids,” Halbert said. “I grew roots. That’s what I do with places I love and people I love. We get through this thing called school and hopefully prepare you all for something and, hopefully, prepare you all for something bigger and better.”
Davies responded enthusiastically to Union High School’s request for a recognition of Halbert.
“My mother was a schoolteacher for many years. I understand the influence you have on kids and generation after generation,” Davies said. “That is a gift you don’t see all the time. I truly believe God gave you this gift and you’re sharing it with everyone here, whether it’s your colleagues or students here.”
Work is being done to ensure counselors can also receive a state award, Davies said.
“She gives so much to our students and staff personnel. Her heart is so much larger than our small campus can contain,” Union High School’s initial message to Davies said. “In her over decade of service at our site, she has possibly affected and influenced so many of our students, providing the inspiration and motivation to graduate either from our high school or return and graduate from their home school.”