LCC welding instructor wins Empathy in Education award
Lassen Community College Dean of Academic Services Dr. Kayleigh Carabajal, right, and Lassen Family Services Child Abuse Treatment Therapist Shayla Ashmore, left, congratulate Kory Konkol on winning the 2012 Empathy in Education Award.Photo by Teresa Del Rio
June 18, 2012 — “I have never seen this much empathy in any teacher,” wrote Lynn Sanders in her winning nomination of Kory Konkol, the fourth recipient of the annual Empathy in Education award.
Lassen Family Services recognized Konkol as part of its observance of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Konkol, a welding instructor at Lassen Community College, was one of 22 nominees for the award developed to recognize teachers or school staff members who are caring, compassionate, sensitive and look out for the needs of students.
Nominees work in schools across the county from Westwood to Doyle.
“Mr. Konkol values people of all ages and has gone out of his way numerous times to help others,” Sanders wrote. “Mr. Konkol strives to instill a sense of responsibility in his students so they develop a work ethic. He models the behavior that he tries to instill. He sets a playful tone for the class that includes fun and laughter. He’s calm in the face of frustration and tears.”
When he received the award on May 17, Konkol said he was extremely surprised. He admitted he seeks to offer students as much help as he can.
“I don’t turn anybody away,” Konkol said, adding he tries to support anyone who comes to the welding shop. “We make time available for students to help any way we can. In this hard economy not everyone has the tools to succeed.”
He recalled showing Internet videos on how to succeed to a student who was concerned about not passing his classes and helping a student write a paper on welding for English class.
Konkol even helps non-students, including a woman who had car trouble in the college parking lot, as Sanders recalled.
“When a woman came to the area looking for someone to help her with her car, I did not hesitate to get my teacher,” Sanders wrote.“Sure enough, Mr. Konkol helped her.”
Sanders also praised Konkol’s compassion and patience.
“When I was feeling pain, he helped me find positions that wouldn't hurt, and let me use a machine that was lighter, therefore less painful to use,” she wrote.“He checks on me to see that I am doing okay after he has demonstrated for me what I do next.
“He is more patient with me than I am with myself. I can see that he is also patient with the rest of his students. Our frustration levels vary, but he wants to help prevent and alleviate our frustration.
“He works with the students despite the lack of aptitude and/or abundance of attitude on the part of some. He is consistently professional, even with students who push the limits or are altogether inappropriate,” she wrote.
Konkol, in turn, had praise for Sanders’ work in class.
“She’s a great student and very picky about her work,” he said, adding he doesn’t give her any slack.
Konkol is a prime example of the culture of caring where all the staff at Lassen College “speak up and advocate for our children,” said LCC Dean of Academic Services Dr. Kayleigh Carabajal.
“Kory absolutely exemplifies that. I’ve watched him teach,” Carabajal said.
The LFS CHAT staff also chose an honorable mention recipient, Patty Hudson, a teacher at Mt. Lassen Charter School. Hudson “is never too busy” to help or tutor a student on any subject or give students rides for field trips, according to Matthew Vanderley’s nomination.
“She will go to your house to give you work or to help you with your work if you can’t come to school,” Vanderley wrote.
Another student, Celeste Rutledge, mentioned rides for field trips in her nomination and concluded Hudson is just a really nice teacher.
Konkol received a plaque and a gift basket of items donated by local merchants including a computer tune-up from Cosmic Computing valued at $950, one hour of bowling from Main Street Bowl valued at $22, rotation and brake inspection from Les Schwab valued at $20, a Buffalo Chips pizza valued at $20.99, a cream pie from the Old Mill Café valued at $17.95, and a bottle of Pappy’s Hot Spice from Idaho Grocery valued at $6.
For her honorable mention, Hudson received a $30 Walmart gift card.
The Lassen Family Services Child Abuse Treatment Program developed the Empathy in Education Award in 2009. Program Coordinator Teresa Del Rio spent hours in March contacting local merchants to solicit prizes for the winners.
Any school employee, from teachers to the school secretary, principal, counselor, teacher’s aide, bus driver or janitor, was eligible to win.
But only if nominated by parents, students, other school staff or community members.
Lassen Family Services plans to continue the successful Empathy in Education award as an annual observance each April for Child Abuse Prevention Month.
For more information on child abuse prevention or the free counseling services for children aged 3 to 17 offered by the LFS CHAT program, call Del Rio at 257-4599, extension 245.
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