Mrs. Clevenger

CRYSTAL APPLE: Paraprofessional always puts her students first

Education a calling for 24-year veteran

By CALLIE JONES | | Sterling Journal-Advocate May 1, 2021 at 7:46 a.m.


As a paraprofessional, Laura Clevenger strives to help teachers at Peetz School ensure their students’ needs are met and they are able to succeed.

“Laura is a great asset to our school. She works with a variety of kids on a daily basis and they all love her,” said her Crystal Apple Award nominator Dustin Seger.

Clevenger has been at Peetz School for 11 years now and has been an educator for 24 years, including 11 at Caliche Elementary and two at Chase County, Neb.

“I feel that education was a calling for me. It was the ‘light bulb’ factor that hooked me. Seeing students grasp new knowledge with a flash of enthusiasm and their hunger for more, strums my heartstrings and it became an addiction for me early in my career,” she said.

Clevenger’s duties at Peetz include overseeing elementary students at recess times, allowing teachers to stay in their rooms and get caught up on grading and such.

“I have watched her with her groups of elementary students in a round table learning exercise and the students are very focused on her every word,” Seger said, adding that Clevenger always puts the students first in everything she does.

Asked what’s kept her at Peetz all of these years, Clevenger said she appreciates that the school is the heartbeat of the community and that the community strives for the greatest good.

“All programs/teams/organizations are supported – no one, more than another,” she said.

Clevenger can list numerous ways that community support can be seen, from the Teens for Tots Program, which develops necessary life skills for all involved, to the landowner adjacent to the school who donated space for horse therapy for autistic students.

“More specifically, I appreciate the atmosphere of unity in Ms. Kennedy’s Resource Room. Together everyone achieves more among Resource Room staff members,” Clevenger said.

Her favorite part of the job is definitely the students.

“It’s all about celebrating each one of the students,” Clevenger said.

For this paraprofessional nothing is important than the students, they come first always.

“Selfish pride, rules, regulations, politics…may persist in distracting me if not for my mantra: ‘it’s all about the student,’” Clevenger said.

By CALLIE JONES | | Sterling Journal-Advocate May 1, 2021 at 7:46 a.m.