Honored: Robyn Smith
Robyn Smith brings a unique background to her job as a guidance counselor at Rainbow Lake Middle School.
“I actually started off working for DSS as an adoption social worker,” she said. “My caseload was mainly with older children.”
Smith often counseled families when the adjustment to adoption was difficult.
“It was a tough job and it didn’t always have a happy ending,” she said. “Most of our adopted children had educational needs. I wanted to figure out how to not only be a counselor for them but help them educationally. I figured, why not advocate for them on the other end?”
Smith went back to school, starting off in special education.
“I realized I probably wasn’t cut out for the classroom,” she said.
Now, as a married mother of two, Smith spends her days serving a portion of the students in grades six – eight at her school. It’s a perfect fit.
“I love middle school,” she said. “I thought I wanted to do high school. I love the high school age, but you don’t get as much one-on-one interaction. At middle school, they are at an age where you can impact them the most. They need so much direction. I feel like it’s your last chance to reach them before they reach that independence.”
Smith is the school’s yearbook editor, she coaches basketball, runs a club for girls and counsels families. The girls’ club has made a profound impact at the school. Girls meet monthly to hear guest speakers and engage with topics such as self-defense, etiquette, building positive friendships, art and dance, dating and community service.
“It’s all about building healthy relationships with each other,” she said.
The program has been so successful that a male teacher has now started an equivalent club for boys.
“I make more of an impact now,” Smith said. “They aren’t scared of me. They feel like they can confide in me. I am here to support them and offer a helping hand. The more you connect with them, the more you can impact your students.”