Sharing Thanks: The Birthday Note & the Pelt

In our Sharing Thanks story this week, Jenny Scott tells us why a hand-made card and bloody Ziplock bag were part of the most memorable birthdays she ever celebrated at school.

Inspiring School Counselors
Inspiring School Counselors
Sharing Thanks: The Birthday Note & the Pelt

This Week's Storyteller

Jenny Scott earned a Master’s in Social Work and had her own private practice before earning a school counselor degree and becoming School Counseling Director at Shakamak Jr.-Sr. High School for the last 23 years. 

She is a foster parent to two twin daughters and volunteers at the local hospital’s trauma unit on the weekends.

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Matt Fleck:
Hi, everyone! Hope you enjoyed Halloween and are ready for Thanksgiving and more of our Sharing Thanks stories here on the Encouraging Words for School Counselors podcast. I’m Matt Fleck with Inspire Success. Thank you for being with us for another week.

We’re asking listeners this month to share stories of a memorable note they received from a student or parent and why the note was so special. Well, you’ll definitely understand soon why the birthday note – and the very unique birthday GIFT – that students gave to Jenny Scott, School Counseling Director at Shakamak Jr.-Sr. High School a few years ago – was very memorable for her.   

Jenny Scott:
It started off with the lady who does the announcements decided that let’s say it’s Ms. Scott’s birthday and tell everybody in the school to say happy birthday to her. So all day long, I was kind of getting some little birthday greetings and everything, and that was really sweet and kind. 

And then all of a sudden, this really nice junior high boy came in and on notebook paper, he had made me a birthday card and you know, cute little picture on the front and he opened it up and I knew what he meant, but I was feeling a little bit old that day, anyhow. And then inside it says, “Happy birthday. Just think you’re one day closer to meeting Jesus.” And I knew what he meant, but it just struck me as really funny that day, because like I said, I was feeling kind of old anyhow, and I’m like, oh, ouch.

The sentiment was sincere, perhaps the wording could have used some tweaking. 

Not only was the note memorable, the whole day became more memorable when one of Jenny’s other students scraped up a very special birthday present.  

The day went on and it got to the last hour of the same day. And I was waiting for my seventh hour student who was like my office helper, but he was kind of a kid who was at risk and I was providing him some extra TLC and everything. And when he didn’t show up to class, I called out to the ag building and she’s like, oh yeah, he’s coming in. He’ll be late. He was busy doing something. 

And I’m glad I had a little bit of warning that he was doing “something” because when he came in in this gallon size Ziploc baggie, he had his very freshly skinned raccoon skin, which he proudly tries to present to me in this Ziploc baggie. Honestly, I was speechless. I mean, it was very fresh. It still had little flecks of raccoon on it even!

Remember this is the SAME day, the same birthday, and Jenny had two thoughts. First, she thought, oh please, please, please, I hope the Ag teacher bought sturdy, heavy-duty Ziplock bags…

And then my other thought was the kid from the morning was right. I am now one day closer to meeting Jesus because that took a day off my life when he tried to hand me that raccoon skin. But it was so precious and so sweet and I’ve remembered it for years because he was just giving from his heart.

By all accounts Jenny is an amazing counselor. Prior to her 23 years as a school counselor at Shakamak, she used her Masters in Social Work degree to operate a private practice working with children and teenagers. In her “spare” time now she works nights and weekends for the case management unit at the local hospital in the ER’s trauma department. She’s also a foster mom of two twin 16 year old daughters, and oh, did I mention she has an exchange student this year too? 

I get the most out of my 24 hours unless people hand me a racoon pelt in which case I lose a few minutes of life!

For sharing her story with us, we’re sending Jenny a $10 Amazon gift card, some very unique flowers, and I think we should probably give her a medal, too! 

If YOU have a favorite note from a student or family that has a special meaning for you, let us know during our Sharing Thanks series this fall. All you need to do is send us a few sentences about it by email at or tell us the story on our online recording studio at We’ll return the thanks with an Amazon gift card and a unique surprise (and it won’t be a raccoon skin). 

Until next week, thanks for listening.