Making the Grade
A three-week Girl Scout vacation on a chartered bus to the great American West in 1973 convinced Summit High School 10th-grade counselor Holly Baldwin her future was not in Ohio.”The trip was phenomenal,” she said. “We hiked in the Grand Canyon and visited the Garden of the Gods. From that time on I knew I was going to move out here.”Baldwin, 44, also got an early insight into what would eventually become her life’s work. She took an interest inventory test in 10th-grade that suggested “school counselor” as an appropriate career path for her.”At the time I only thought, ‘oh that’s nice,’ but it definitely planted a seed,” she said. She moved to Colorado after graduating from Ohio University in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in education.
“I just wanted to ski, wait tables and take a break from school,” she said.Baldwin was unable to stay away from it for long, though. She went to Western State in Gunnison, got a masters degree in education and came back to Summit County to be the middle school counselor.”I absolutely loved the middle school,” she said. While there she started a group counseling program that’s still running.”I’m proudest of that,” she said. The program includes “the Banana Splits,” for children of divorced parents, and “Person to Person,” a support group for gifted and talented students.After 14 years at the middle school, Baldwin needed a change. She spent a year as an elementary school counselor and then moved to Summit High to be the 9th-grade counselor in the fall of 2004.
“I found I missed working with adolescents,” she said. “I really prefer dealing with that population.” This year she became head of the counseling department, 10th-grade counselor and standardized testing coordinator. Baldwin has also taken on the added responsibility of organizing the master schedule for the high school. This massive undertaking involves soliciting student academic requests and devising a schedule that works. It’s a challenge she relishes.”I really enjoy the logic of trying to figure out everyone’s needs,” she said.Summit High assistant principal Drew Adkins works with Baldwin on the master schedule and said he is very grateful for her enthusiasm.”Holly is a very caring individual who puts 110 percent daily into meeting student needs,” he said. “She goes above and beyond the call of duty.”
Baldwin denies there is any sacrifice involved.”I couldn’t have chosen a better profession,” she said. “When I see students find happiness, love, joy and compassion within themselves and when they share those qualities with the world around them it opens my heart and makes me say this is all worth it.”Baldwin lives with her husband, Jim, a local attorney, and their orange cat, Red Tara, in Silverthorne. The decision to live in Summit County has evidently been the right one for her.”I feel so grateful to be alive,” she said. “This life is so precious to me.”- Harriet Hamilton
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