ATHENS, P.a. (WETM) – Meet Laura Watkins, who has served as an educator for over a decade. She began her career at Athens High School as emotional support professional.

“Emotional support is part of special education,” Watkins explained. “The learning support aspect focuses on kids who have a specific disability.”

What started off as a dream to teach kindergarten quickly turned into a passion for working with high schoolers.

“I graduated from Athens, came back to Athens after college to substitute [teach] and ended up in the high school and found that I loved it,” she said.

Now, with 13 years of experience under her belt, she focuses on creating strategies to help struggling students both in and out of the classroom.

“I love getting to know the kids, I love getting to know all the different aspects of their lives that they get to share,” Watkins said. “Some of them just need someone they can talk to, someone they can trust and I enjoy being that person for them – kind of being their outlet. They know that they can come to me and talk and kind of tell me whatever they need to tell me.”

Watkins said there are numerous things that make her sometimes difficult job worth it.

“Seeing them overcome those obstacles is the greatest part,” she said, “When you’ve got a kiddo who’s really going through a hard time – whether it be at home or in school like they’re struggling to learn something or to make a friend – or a break up even it’s high school, there’s a ton of emotions all over the place – just seeing them overcome those obstacles and situations is the best part.”

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