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Sherry Paxton – Millard High School

Mrs. Paxton has been lifting students at Millard High School for over 25 years. She began by literally lifting her special needs students, training them for Special Olympics, teaching them to shave their legs, and helping them learn life skills as she found local businesses to let them intern at. She was often heard saying, “These kids don’t have disabilities, they have DIFFERENT ABILITIES!”

After years of lifting and loving her special needs students, she became the librarian at MHS and completely changed the atmosphere in the library. Instead of being discouraged for lingering in the library, Mrs. Paxton encouraged students to come and stay and be comfortable. She purchased couches and Love Sacks, had soothing music playing, and offered monthly reading incentives. Students always know there is a safe place to go before or after school, and especially during lunch. High school hallways can be intimidating for a lot of students, and Mrs. Paxton wants every student to have a place.

Under her supervision, a “Center” has been operating in the back of her library. Teachers send students who are failing or are ready to drop out of school to Mrs. Paxton, and she helps and nurtures them back to progression. She has saved countless students from dropping out of school, and her office is filled every May with numerous graduation announcements and “Thank You” cards.

Mrs. Paxton has supervised several clubs such as the National Honor Society, Governor’s Youth Council, and Peer Tutoring. She plans yearly field trips for these clubs where they have visited museums, sporting events, and cultural events that many of her rural students would never get to experience on their own. She is a tremendous asset to her school, her community, and to the lives of the numerous students she has lifted.

-DeEtte Englebright