Cheryl Knudson is named state Counselor of the Year

Cheryl Knudson is named state Counselor of the Year By Amber Skjonsberg In 1980, the Wakonda School District was blessed with a new home economics teacher, Cheryl (Thanes) Knudson.

Roger Tigert, the superintendent at the time, convinced Mrs. Knudson to get her degree in guidance and counseling. It took her seven years to get her degree from USD and to be hired as the guidance counselor at the Wakonda School.

Since Cheryl Knudson, also known as Mrs. K among the students, became the guidance counselor she has become the fuel that runs the school.

Her duties include drug and alcohol prevention, post secondary school planning, elementary guidance counseling, new national honors society, individual counseling, state testing, financial aid and scholarships.

Before Mrs. K became Wakonda School's counselor, there were only three small scholarships offered to the Wakonda seniors, but now Mrs. K has managed to get 19 local scholarships. She's done this by contacting local businesses and organizations, making sure that anyone who does give scholarships will be recognized at graduation, and by doing a little begging.

Not only does Mrs. K spend her time at Wakonda, she also is the guidance counselor at the Irene school, taking on the same responsibilities and doing just as good a job there as she has at Wakonda over the years.

Because Mrs. K has worked at Wakonda for so many years, she had become very close with all the students. There isn't a single student at Wakonda or Irene that can say that Mrs. K hasn't helped them in some way.

With all that she has on her plate she still manages to make time for anyone who needs her, whether it be for helping the seniors with their financial aid when they can't seem to figure it out, helping the high school with all types of fund raisers, or even making her famous caramel rolls in support of the school's athletic teams.

This year Mrs. Knudson finally received the recognition that she deserves. Nominated by Dave Hutchinson, Mr. Johnke, and our school resource officer, Dallas Schnack, Mrs. K has won the South Dakota Multi-level School Counselor of the Year award.

There were counselors from all across the state nominated for this award. But what made Mrs. K stand out was all the time and effort she put into the school, especially in their time of need.

With all that she has done for the school and the students, it's hard to believe that she hasn't won this award before. But now that she has, on behalf of all the students and faculty at Wakonda I would just like to say, "Thank you for everything you have done for us. You have taken more than your share of chores and done it so unselfishly. You are one of a kind and we are so lucky to have you with us. No one deserves this more than you do."

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