The Falcon Cry

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The Falcon Cry

The Falcon Cry

Ms. James wins HEB Excellence in Education Award

Nia Yusamran
Lively Counselor, Domonique James, receiving the HEB Excellence in Education Award for Secondary Counselor.

It’s award season, and as beloved as our teacher of the year, teacher of promise, and numerous rave winners are, there’s arguably no staff member that I think this school loves and believes deserves an award more than Ms. James.

In case you’re living under a rock Patrick Star style, Ms. James is the eighth grade, and now also half of the seventh grade, counselor.  Her “outgoing” nature shines through the school and seems to inspire everybody at Lively, staff member or student, eighth grader or not. When interviewing those close to Ms. James one name rang abundantly clear, Mrs. Garcia, the sixth grade, and once again half of seventh grade, counselor. When asking about her thoughts it was obvious there was not a lack of love and inspiration in the workplace.  Describing her as an “open” and approachable partner, who “raises the bar so high”. Ms. Garcia reiterated that she saw passion and energy in Ms. James.

Mrs. Garcia isn’t the only staff member who works closely with Ms. James, and is certainly not the only one who sings her praises. The sixth grade vice principal, Mr. Neeley, was arguably the “biggest fan” of Ms. James. And also, don’t tell anyone I said this, but according to Ms. James a “little birdy” said that he was the one to nominate her.  First and foremost Mr. Neeley expressed, similar to Ms. Garcia, that Ms. James cares. She cares for her students, she cares for the school, and she even cares for the other staff members. “. Mr. Neeley also expressed his personal experience with Ms. James, as not only an educator but as a friend. “Ms. James is easily one of the best people I have ever met, she’s amazing, she’s caring, she always puts her students first, so rightfully deserved for sure.”

It’s not just the staff that appreciates Ms. James, the students had plenty to say as well. Eighth grader Ellie Cannon-Pitts, a student who isn’t as close to Ms. James, went on the record to put in her feelings. Ellie described Ms. James from a perspective of someone with less experience with her, but the thoughts still matched up well. “She’s really nice.” was already a good description of the counselor, but that wasn’t all that was said. Described as helpful, caring, and kind Ms. James was said to be “really helpful in answering” questions regarding the high school application process. Another eighth grader at lively, Ariannah Prince, had much to say about her counselor.  Ariannah told the sweet story of her own personal experience with Ms. James. “She’s changed me ever since sixth grade, because I’ve always thought about everyone else but now she just lets me know to only really care about how you are first and to protect yourself and whatever anyone is saying it doesn’t matter and she always like makes me happy and she always tells me to be positive about myself.”

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But as important as the students and staff are, this award is about one person; one name, one that I’ve said exactly 14 times so far, Ms. James. So, naturally, I need to hear her thoughts.  Ms. James might be an amazing counselor, but she’s undeniably new at it. Having already worked one year with high-schoolers going into Lively she felt as if she was “learning with our current eighth graders”. Learning to “be more empathetic”, to change her mindset, and most importantly to understand.  This understanding is part of what makes Ms. James so deserving, something that she can admit. “I do think I deserve it…I see every kid for who they are and as an individual and I think that is what has gotten me this far is because it shows through my passion.”  Ms. James has undoubtedly changed our school for the better, and that’s not even my own words, that’s every person I interviewed or have even interacted with in my time at Lively. Ms. James has “impacted and encouraged”, “helped and supported”, and “helped transform” her students, and even herself. “I just evolved and just as an overall person even within myself too,” James said.

Whether Ms. James goes to nationals for best counselor or has to try again next year, I think that every single student, staff member, and parent can agree that she’ll always be our “outstanding counselor of the year through heb education and excellence.”

Ms. James with the cheerleaders celebrating her win. James, along with Ms. King, brought the cheerleading team back to Lively this year. (Nia Yusamran)
Ms. James with admin, counseling staff and staff of AISD celebrating her award.  (Nia Yusamran)

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About the Contributor
Sam Nash
Sam Nash, Co-Editor in Chief
Sam Nash is a 7th grade Digital Newspaper student at Lively Middle School.
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