WINCHESTER - When Jaime Roberts was a young child she dreamed of either becoming an actress on a soap opera, an FBI agent or a professional soccer player. Now 16 years a guidance counselor at Winchester High School, Roberts is known for her compassion, hard work and refusal to let any student fall between the cracks. She is also the 2019 winner of the Winchester Foundation for Educational Excellence Sarah Swiger Award.
Instituted in memory of long time school committee member, early WFEE supporter and community activist Sarah Swiger, the award is given annually to an educator who embodies a commitment to all students, an understanding of the needs of the whole child and devotion to community service.
During a ceremony to honor Roberts, former students and fellow educators spoke of her unwavering devotion to the well-being of students.
“Jaime showed me compassion unlike anyone else ever had. Not only did she help me to believe in myself,” said Tanya Behnan. “She made me feel that I was really worth it, and for that I am forever grateful.”
In her remarks, Roberts turned the spotlight on family, mentors, long ago bus drivers, nurses, her teachers and colleagues.
“I want the community to know how smart, hardworking and dedicated my colleagues at WHS are and how truly inspired I am by each and every one of them,” said Roberts. “To my students, you have touched my life in ways I can’t express. Your stories stay with me and inspire me.”
“This award is meant to echo Sarah Swiger’s focus on the whole child,” according to WFEE Executive Director Caren Connelly. “It is a reminder to all of us that education is about much more than test scores and academic rigor. And, it is not only classroom teachers who are helping shape our children’s future. Guidance counselors, school nurses and many others contribute to the success of each student.”
The Swiger Award comes with a $1,500 grant from WFEE to be used by the recipient for professional development, programming at his or her school or for a classroom project. Previous award winners are: John Fleming, Karen Fagan and Andrea Phelan.
For more information on the Swiger Award and WFEE visit www.wfee.org. WFEE raises and grants money in support of Winchester’s educators for creative and innovative projects that are beyond the reach of the public dollar.