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Lori Drake, NUAMES High School

The following was submitted by Amy Black.

“Lori has been my son’s school counselor for the past three years, at NUAMES High School. I truly believe she may have saved his life, and his future. I have six children and have never met a more compassionate, involved teacher or counselor. I wanted to do something meaningful to say THANK YOU, and a gift card just wouldn’t be enough to express my gratitude for all the time and love she’s provided to my son.

Grant is an exceptionally bright young man, and has always excelled in school. He also has Tourette’s syndrome, and takes medication to help subdue the tics associated with that. About two years ago, he had an accident while on a longboard, and sustained a concussion. He began having some sleep and concentration problems, leading to severe anxiety and depression. He hid the latter so well that his father and I didn’t realize the extent of it. It was only when Lori called me to come in to talk with her and Grant that I understood. SHE had noticed that his grades were slipping, and asked him to come talk to her. She asked him direct questions, and miraculously, he answered her more fully than he had answered us. Because of Grant’s previous excellent history in school, and his very responsible nature, I hadn’t bothered to check. It turned out that Grant’s depression was so severe that he couldn’t even begin to lift a pencil to complete his work. There were several times after this meeting that we were exceptionally concerned about his life. We may not have known in time, had it not been for Lori opening up that conversation.

There were other medical issues going on as well, and over the next year and a half, Grant and I spent a lot of time going to doctor’s appointments and undergoing tests to try to figure out how to help him. All this time, Lori kept in frequent contact with both of us The outpouring of love and support was truly outstanding. I have cried in her office and felt it, not just for my son, but for me, as his mother, as well.

Lori made sure that Grant had the resources he needed to succeed, through an incredibly trying time. I believe she spent many hours working for him alone, not to mention all the other kids who benefitted from her cage. I know she will say that she was just doing her job, but it’s obvious that the kids at NUAMES are HER kids, that she takes care of them in a way that goes above and beyond anything I’ve ever seen before. She takes a personal interest in their welfare. Their success is a deep concern to her. I think of her as a savior to my son and will never forget her.”