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Hello and thank you to MNCDHH for the Education Excellence Award. I feel incredibly humbled and honored to receive such a special award. Let me tell you a little about myself. I work at Metro Deaf School as a school counselor. I am also a part of the mental health team. It is there that I would like to dedicate this award, the Mental Health Team of Metro Deaf School. The four of us, Lauren Barkmeier, Michael Awbrey, Jason Valentine, and myself (Cookie Brand), work together to make sure the needs of our students are met. We support students as a whole person. Not only educational and emotional support but we also in other areas – including but not limited to; making sure students have reliable transportation to come to school, access to communication, and full access to education. We provide support groups for our students as they discover their own identity and as they become a healthy human. We always take into consideration the various cultural approaches to our work with our students. It is not possible for one person to do all this work. That is why we are a team of four. And that is the reason I am dedicating this award to my team at MDS. Thank you.
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