One could say that Juanita Mercedes Martinez Pabon does it all.
On any given day, the Wilson Elementary School paraeducator is a crossing guard, a lunchroom supervisor, helps with character education and math lessons, offers interpreter services for Spanish speaking families at the school and even does laminating and bookbinding for teachers and staff.
It’s that work and that dedication that led Pabon to be named one of the Anoka-Hennepin School District’s 2012-2013 Above & Beyond Award winners.
Pabon is one of 10 recipients of the annual award that recognizes teachers, administrative assistants, cooks, custodians and other employees who work extra-hard to make sure students are successful.
“It’s not hard to go the extra mile or exceed expectations when you work with an amazing staff and children,” she said. “I love my job.”
Angela Young, a parent whose son goes to Wilson, which is located in Anoka, nominated Pabon for the award. Young said she left an “amazingly positive effect on him” during his three years on the student patrol, which Pabon is adviser to, in addition to a participant.
“Every school needs someone like her to watch out for their kids,” Young said.
Pabon says it’s a priority for her to develop positive relationships with students and their families.
“A positive relationship opens many doors for all of us,” she said. “If a child knows that you are there to help them with any concern, they will open up when something is bothering them.”
Her relationship with the children and their families doesn’t stop when they leave school. She also volunteers at Teen Night at Anoka Middle School for the Arts where she says she’s happy to keep up with Wilson students who have moved on to middle school. She’s also says she is pleased when former students from over the years make time to stop in and visit with her about their lives.
“I enjoy my work and would not change it for the world,” Pabon said. “The staff, students and parents at Wilson are awesome and amazing.”