Two counselors with certificates standing in between balloons

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) recognized the school counseling team at Neabsco Elementary School with the 2024 Region IV Difference Maker Award. This award goes to a school counselor or counseling team who make a difference in the lives of the students they serve.

Allison Fultz and Lydia Larimore, school counselors at Neabsco Elementary, were nominated and ultimately received the award for implementing the Stars Supporting Stars peer mentorship program this year. As a part of this program, fifth grade students are empowered to have daily check-ins with the younger students. The program has had a huge impact across the school, boosting their schoolwide attendance rates by more than 15%. 

“It has given our students the motivation to come to school because now they know there is someone here that looks forward to seeing them, who is excited to see them,” said Larimore about how the Stars Supporting Stars program has helped Neabsco students.

“Having a mentorship program like this is important because when we empower our students to be leaders, we see change in behavior, attendance, engagement and school climate,” shared Fultz.

Anne Henry, supervisor of elementary counseling and Brooke LeVecchi, principal of Neabsco were thrilled to have the opportunity to honor these great educators during National School Counseling week with this award.

"I am so proud of Neabsco's school counselors and the work they do every day with students, families, staff, and the school community. I am honored that the VDOE has chosen Mrs. Larimore and Ms. Fultz as Region IV "changemakers." The important work they do is making a difference with student attendance and academic achievement, which is tied to our school's continuous improvement goals,” said LeVecchi.

The work that Fultz and Larimore are doing with the students at Neabsco has not only impacted the students at the school, but has been shared with schools across the division, making a difference for all students in PWCS.

View video to learn more about the Stars Supporting Stars mentor program.