Crystal Joseph was nominated by a former student, Caroline Payne.
"As I have grown older, I have begun to realized just how formative my early teenage years were. Mrs. Joseph was my high school counselor," said Payne. "She was my safe space. I did not have a lot of role models in my life at that time, so I naturally gravitated towards her positive spirit. She always made me feel at ease with whatever I was going through at the time. She would guide me towards my academic and career goals, and was a shoulder to lean on. In a way, she became one of my best friends in high school."
"Mrs. Joseph seemed to understand me in a way my parents couldn't. When my irrational teenage self felt like the world was crumbling down, I knew I could go to her and she'd help me through it," said Payne. "When I went away to college upon graduation, her advice and guidance helped me through my first few years. Now, as a 23 year old woman living in the real world, far away from home, I can honestly say that I owe a lot of my strength to her. She gave me the courage to listen to and trust myself."
"In a time when mental illness seems to be at an all time high for children and young adults, I think it is so important that kids have more access to in school counselors like Mrs. Joseph. Counselors like her truly make the world of a difference in childrens' lives. I am forever grateful for what she has done for me and what she continues to do for other students," Payne concluded.