Helping students, teaching life lessons and being a bridge to success are important aspects of Donna Lobascio’s work. But developing a connection and helping a struggling student have a breakthrough are everything to her.
Becoming a counselor was a natural calling for Lobascio. Despite originally majoring in art therapy in college, she quickly found her way to an elementary school counselor position.
Now, after almost 40 years in her field, the Cinnaminson School District Counseling Supervisor has been named the 2020 Educational Services Professional of the Year.
“I was very humbled and very honored to receive this award,” Lobascio said. “When I started this career, my goal was to leave a lasting impression of good. This award was really a validation of that.
“It was a desire of mine that maybe no one ever knew except for me, so receiving the award was not only a validation, but at the same time it was an honor,” she added. “It has been a privilege to be doing what I do every day for this many years.”
Lobascio began her career in education as an elementary school teacher, but she eventually noticed time for the best part of her job was limited due to the rest of her teaching duties. Becoming a counselor, she said, would allow her to create a bigger impact and help students in a different way.
“I think I was always a counselor,” Lobascio recalled. “I was a counselor in high school. I remember, for graduation, I got a phone, and before college, I disconnected it because people would call all hours of the night.
“Being a counselor was in my blood”
“I think the career found me,” she added. “I love teaching and love working with kids, but with working with parents and working with kids as their teacher, a lot of what I was doing was really counseling, so pursuing my degree for it, I think it happened organically.”
According to Lobascio, everyone has a story and every story deserves validation. She believes every student, every child and every person needs to be valued.
“Differences should be celebrated so that students feel that even though they’re coming from a home that’s not like their neighbors or like their friends at school, they realize it’s not who they are, but where they are coming from,” she noted. “The focus should be on who they can become.”