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Fortuna School District Counselor receives H.B. McDaniel Hall of Fame Award

FORTUNA- One local school counselor is being honored for her hard work and dedication. Kay Chapman, the District Counselor for Fortuna Elementary School District was awarded the H.B. McDaniel Hall of Fame Award from Stanford University over the weekend.

Only four awards were given out and Mrs. Chapman was the only counselor on the North Coast to receive the award for her exceptional contributions to counseling.

South Fortuna Elementary School Counselor, Andres Castro said, “When I heard the opportunity to honor an individual to receive this recognition, first person that came to my mind was Mrs. Chapman. There’s no doubt about it.”

Kay Chapman has been working for the Fortuna School District for over 40 years. She said, “I wanted to be a teacher and so did my sister so we both became teachers. We came from a very small four room school house in Hydesville and our teachers encouraged us at a very early age.”

Now, she’s the District Counselor for four schools. “We do home visits, we work with families, we work with children to try to make things better for them and listen to what their needs are.”

But Mrs. Chapman goes above and beyond her duties.

Andres Castro said, “It’s thanks to Mrs. Chapman that we have school counselors here in Humboldt County. She’s written grants to ensure employment for school counselors.”

Kay Chapman also coordinates a Family Resource Center for families in the Eel River Valley and students at South Fortuna Elementary School.

She said, “Whether it be food, clothing, filling out applications for various job or houses or making resumes.”

When asked why she left teaching to be a Counselor she said, “I needed to get out and get help for those families and those kids so kids can actually come to school to learn and not be worried about what’s happening at home.”

Andres Castro, the Counselor who nominated her for the award says Mrs. Chapman never thinks of herself. She’s always doing for others.

“Incredibly loving, incredibly supportive, always ready to lend a helping hand at any which way shape or form.”

Mrs. Chapman said, “It’s humbling. I mean I cried.”

The H.B. McDaniel Hall of Fame Award is named after a late professor who had a love for counseling.

Mrs. Chapman says her dream is to have a one stop shop for social services and mental health for everyone in Fortuna, including our veterans.