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Making the Grade

HARRIET HAMILTONsummit daily news
Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk
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For Summit High’s Dorothy Sabo, one of her most significant memories as a student was when her teacher encouraged her to be courageous. A classroom bully was picking on her when the teacher, Mr. Rubin, gave her a valuable suggestion.”He told me, ‘you don’t have to take that,'” she said. “He told me to stand up for myself and that he would support me.”Sabo, a paraprofessional in the Tiger Lab, took that advice to heart. Growing up in a small town in the coal-mining region of Pennsylvania, she knew she was looking for more out of life than what her native area had to offer.”Both of my parents were coal miners,” she said. “Coal mining is a part of my life.” She credits her exposure to the mining environment for her interest in health and physical education, which she studied in college.

“I started out in art,” she said. “But I switched to P.E. because I need to move around and I couldn’t just sit there painting.”In college, she met her future husband, Tim, who she refers to as her “best friend.” A year ahead of her in school, Tim moved to Summit County to ski after graduation. When he came back for her the next year, Sabo didn’t hesitate to head for the hills.The school district has been pretty much her home since she arrived in the High Country. She started out working at the after school day camp before spending a year as a long-term substitute at the middle school. After five years as a special ed paraprofessional at Summit High, Sabo eventually found her way to her current position in the Tiger Lab.”I found my niche here,” she said. “And I do love this position.” She manages the lab, supervises students who come in to use the computers and coordinates the “students with outstanding character” program.

Mr. Rubin’s advice, she says, is often on her mind as she works with students.”I really like this age group,” she said, “They’re individuals, and they’re grown up. I encourage them to not be afraid.”A part-time disc jockey at weddings, Sabo is an avid rock-and-roll fan, and students who come into her lab can browse through her extensive CD collection to find music they like. The 33-year-old teacher confesses to an obsession with the band, Primus.”I love Les Claypool,” she said enthusiastically, referring to the band’s bassist and lead singer. Sabo’s appreciation of the iconoclastic Claypool reinforces the impression she gives of self-reliance.

In her spare time, the Blue River resident snowboards, skis and hangs out with her 2-year-old daughter, Maya.When asked what knowledge she’d like most to share with her students, her answer reflects her own life philosophy.”Success is not how much money you bring home,” she said. “It’s how happy you are with the decisions you’ve made about your life.”


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