What happens when a school’s traditional holiday event meets with an enthusiastic elementary school counselor? Let’s just say there’s lots of prancing and blitzing. Listen to the whole story from former school counselor of the year Kaet Barron.
This Week's Storyteller: Kaet Barron
Kaet Barron has been the school counselor at Maryville Elementary School in Bullitt County, KY since 2011. At Michelle Obama’s last White House event as First Lady, Kaet was recognized as the 2016 Kentucky School Counselor of the Year. She has also received recognition as a 40 Under 40 Recipient and Way to Go Woman of Leadership for her work incorporating the arts in counseling and increasing awareness and resources devoted to working with families affected by incarceration.
Kaet lives in Louisville with her husband and two daughters.
Connect with Kaet on her Facebook page That Crazy Mrs. Barron: School Counselor.
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Happy holidays, everyone. And welcome back to Encouraging Words for School Counselors, a true, five minute podcast featuring wonderful stories from school counselors about school counseling. I’m Matt Fleck with Inspire Success.
We’ve been asking you listeners to share stories this month related to the holidays and that’s exactly what elementary counselor Kaet Barron of Bullitt County, Kentucky did for us. Kaet was the state of Kentucky’s 2016 School Counselor of the Year, and was nice enough to share a story with us about an annual holiday event at her school that she absolutely loves.
At my school we have this wonderful, wonderful tradition at Christmas. We do a sing along on, like, the second or day before winter break. And we invite the whole community in and we basically just have, like, the words to all these Christmas songs up, and we just sing along to Christmas songs. And it is by far my most favorite part of the year.
Kaet says simply working in an elementary school around the holidays provides such joy and allows her to re-experience that sense of magic that many younger students feel. One unique aspect about the Christmas sing-along at Kaet’s school is that a large percentage of the 320+ students come from lower socio-economic families, so very few parents show up for parent nights or parent events.
But they all come out for the sing along and it’s just everybody together, singing songs, having a great time. And so I would say two years in, I decided we need a Rudolph.
That would not have been my first thought, but it was for Kaet — whose Facebook handle, by the way, is That Crazy Mrs. Baron. That aside, Kaet just happened to have a Rudolph costume at home and soon she and the costume became an integral part of the sing along.
I set out of the first song and then when we play Rudolph, I come out dressed as Rudolph with, like, a red blinking nose, and I wear that Rudolph costume for the entire sing along. And the kids love it. Even the parents love it. And then throughout the years it has expanded where now it’s like this whole skit where I’m Rudolph. Another teacher pretends to be Santa. I now have a Frosty costume — one of those giant, like, inflatable Frosties — and so I wear that during a song. And we can’t do it this year.
Perhaps not in person, but there are other ways. The teachers and counselors at Kaet’s school have watched The Grinch Who Stole Christmas enough times to know that they’re not going to let COVID crush their holiday spirit.
Our music teacher, who’s fantastic, she put together a virtual sing along. So there’s a Thursday night that we’re all tuning into Facebook Live together and we’re all going to have a virtual sing along. But then she also asked the staff to record themselves dancing to a Christmas song, I think, like, Jingle Bell Rock, or whatever. And she’s putting all those videos together to make a little montage. And I made sure to film a video with Rudolph and with Frosty. And I’m, I’m really, really debating just, just walking around the neighborhood. I’m just like, I’m getting my Christmas cheer! I don’t care. My face is covered in both costumes. [laughter]
So, if you happen to see a Rudolph or an inflatable Frosty the Snowman walking down the street, be sure to wave because it might be someone you know.
Thanks for your story, Kaet.
We’d love to hear your story of working as a school counselor. Simply drop me a note direct at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our virtual sound booth, where you can record your story at any time of the day, sitting in your PJ’s with kids screaming in the background, whenever you want. You can find the sound booth and previous episodes on our website at inspiresuccess.org/podcast.
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That’s all for this round. Have a great week!