2021 Withington Award
SAU 34 Superintendent Patricia Parenteau presented High School and District Nurse HeatherAnn LaBier with the Withington Award at the opening staff meeting of the year. We look forward to making the annual presentation of the Withington Award part of the School Community Open House in future years. Below is the text of the Superintendent's presentation.
The Withington Award, presented annually to a member of the Hillsboro-Deering School District, has been awarded since 1981, at graduation. This year, the presentation of this award was to occur during our Campus –Wide Open House, which unfortunately was cancelled due to the pandemic, therefore the presentation of the award is being photographed and the text of these remarks will be posted to the district website and social media.
As a child I had the pleasure of knowing Mr. Withington and I want to take a minute to share with you a bit about him
- Born March 31, 1918 in Jamaica Plain, Mass.
- By the age of 10 was already turning a weekly profit selling eggs
- At his mother’s encouragement, he began pursuing the antique business and went on to became one of the best-known auctioneers in New England and beyond
- The Washington Post described him as a “witty, fascinating type” who could coax a bid on a box of buttons
- He was a leading force behind the preservation of the Hillsborough Center – which many of you may have visited during this past weekend’s living history event
- In the 1970’s he started the Valley Bank in Hillsboro and served as the president and director until 1993
- When there were no doctors in town, he built a medical center and helped attract physicians
- He served 2 terms as a representative in the NH legislature.
- And was a member of the Hillsboro Chamber of commerce, Masonic Lodge, Lions and Moose clubs.
And so it is no surprise that the criteria for the Withington award is as follows:
The recipient should be recognized as an ambassador of the school into the Hillsborough community, a person who has strived for and achieved excellence, contributed significantly to the general welfare of the students in ways above and beyond the normal requirements of their job, offered students and adults a model of strong professional behavior and carried this model from the school into the community. Recognition and respect in the Hillsborough community as a representative of the Hillsboro-Deering School District is a key component.
This year’s Withington Award recipient came into the school district after working 16 years in a community hospital setting where she was known to have excellent clinical skills, followed her patients closely and advocated on their behalf. Her patience and kindness to patients and families led to many requesting her nursing care.
Upon her arrival to the Hillsboro-Deering School District, she immediately made contributions in developing and standardizing district-wide health care policies and procedures for consistent implementation across the schools. She spearheaded the role for school nurses to evolve from primary first aid and screenings to a specialized practice that requires advanced skills to support students with complex medical needs. Our school nurses today provide care coordination, preventative services, acute care and advocacy for students and the school community.
Some of her notable accomplishments include:
- Advocating for a connection with Hillsboro Family Health;
- Advocating and pursuing multiple grant opportunities to provide funding in order to bring in AED devices and Stop the Bleed programming, training and supplies into the schools;
- Brought mobile dental care to students in the SAU 34 communities;
- Working with local medical agencies to bring flu clinics to students and staff;
- Began the school nurse partnership program through Convenient MD;
- Obtained free Epi pens and sports physicals for our athletes;
- Continued the great work with the Hillsboro Lions Club in offering free vision screenings through the use of the Spot Vision Scanner
- Continued to provide CPR/AED and First Aid training to staff.
She has been involved in the community scouts program for years and has been an Assistant Scout Master, Scout Master and Leader for the girls. She has won several awards for Scout Master of the Year and she, along with her daughter, created the Monadnock Venturing Crew and participated in a Venture Fest in Virginia.
As we prepared to enter the 2020-2021 school year, her knowledge, experience, fierce advocacy for safety and eagerness to learn was met with a whole new scenario. In order to help the district reopen for in-person learning safely, she reached out to resources across the state. It was shared that she obtained the largest order of PPE from the National Guard.
She took her experience from working in Trauma/ICU and the fast-paced Ambulatory Care Recovery room and applied these skills during unprecedented times, COVID. Utilizing the most current up to date information, she vigilantly monitored and continually reassessed the circumstances. Guiding the HD School Community with grace, compassion and confidence, she calmed the angry parents and the anxious, nervous students and staff.
The high school assistant principal wrote that she “stayed abreast of ever-changing government and district policies and guidelines around the Covid-19 pandemic and has led her team and the district as a whole commendably in maintaining a safe and healthy school environment. She is an advocate for self-care throughout the district” and as a member of the mental health team she brings an all-encompassing view of wellness, an upbeat attitude and positive problem-solving approach that directly impacts the Mental Health Team's ability to create and deliver high quality support for the school & community. She is a valued team member on committees and teams in the high school and across the district.
Working side by side with administrators she conducted contract tracing for DHHS and notified families of the need to quarantine and outlined proper protocol. Her communication is handled with professionalism and compassion.
I am extremely thankful for all her assistance, especially during this past year, as she has been a keystone to the safety and wellness for students, staff and the whole Hillsboro-Deering School Community during this pandemic. This year’s recipient of the Withington Award is Mrs. HeatherAnn LaBier.