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RVGS Counselor Receives Yale Educator Award
Posted on 10/03/2022
Portrait of Kathy Sebolt with the Yale Educator Award

For Roanoke Valley Governor’s School for Science & Technology Counseling Coordinator Kathy Sebolt, her work is summed up in a short sentence: "I just care about my students," she said.

But her impact is much more wide-reaching. As a result, she was recently honored with the 2022 Yale Education Award from Yale University. A former student nominated her for the recognition, which "recognizes outstanding educators from around the world who support and inspire their students to perform at high levels and to achieve excellence."

Notified in early September, the physical award arrived toward the end of the month.

Calling the award "humbling," Mrs. Sebolt was quick to defer credit.

"I am part of a close-working team here where we're really focused not just on our students' academics, but we really make sure that we are doing everything we can to help our students flourish, balance their life, and grow into successful, healthy adults," she said. "I am able to do the things that I do because of the people that I work with and the support that I have here. I feel like my honor, really, is everyone's honor."

Mrs. Sebolt has been RVGS' counselor for 15 years, and this is her 22nd year in education. Because of the school’s mission as a regional STEM program school that high school students attend for half a day, Mrs. Sebolt takes on a unique role: recruiting students, communicating with students’ home schools, working on events, helping students manage stress, and ensuring students have what they need to be successful.

RVGS Director Mark Levy said Mrs. Sebolt is instrumental to the school’s success.

"The personal care and attention that Mrs. Sebolt gives to each of our students is truly remarkable, helping them with everything from study skills to emotional difficulties to college applications," Mr. Levy said. "Beyond her exceptional availability to students, she is also actively involved in a wide variety of school events and activities, having a profound positive impact on our students and our school."

Mrs. Sebolt said students love RVGS' close-knit, collaborative environment, which allows students to also support one another.

"It's a privilege to work here and to see the bonds that they're able to form with each other. ... I think a lot of people who aren't as familiar with the Governor's School might have this perception that they're competing, but it's really very collaborative," she said.

She hopes students know they are cared for and supported.

"With everything else going on, sometimes that's just what they need: They need to be seen, they need to be heard, and they need to know that somebody has their back," Mrs. Sebolt said. "I'm hoping if they don't hear anything else I say that they at least leave with a feeling of knowing that they're cared for."

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