Rounding out Teacher Appreciation Month, iList presents Stacy Thomas, the Youth Services Director at McCracken County HS. While Stacy is not a teacher, her role is no less important. She is a woman of faith who loves to travel - and she’s trying to convince her personal trainer that French fries, Mexican food, and pizza need to be on her diet plan! iMeet this amazing woman who makes a difference in the lives of students.
Hi, Stacy. Welcome to iMeet. Please tell us about yourself...
I grew up in Murray, and have been in Paducah for the past 14 years. Growing up, we did not have much, and I’m sure many people reading share a similar background. When I was in high school there were a group of people who I attended church with that saw potential in me that I did not see in myself. God sent them to me. He knew that I needed them to get to where He wanted me to be.
I always knew that there was more to life than what I was exposed to as a kid – I just didn't know how to get there. They loved me where I was at, prayed for me and trusted that I would make it in life.
I never thought I would graduate college and become a professional that could make a difference in society, but I did. God's grace has been the theme of my life over and over. Make no mistake…I would not be where I am without Him.
Tell us about your family…
I am single - I don’t have kids or pets. I have three siblings and my Daddy lives in Murray. My Mama passed away almost two years ago and I miss her every day!
Tell us about your position at the HS…
I am the Youth Services Center Director at McCracken County High School. Our center is designed to eliminate any non-academic problem that a student might have. We assist students with career & job development, health & social services, prevention programs, as well as basic needs & mental health.
We receive funding through the State of Kentucky based on the number of students who receive free or reduced lunch, however, we are here to help all of the students that attend the HS. Our team consist of myself and my administrative assistant.
In conjunction with directing the center, I have the awesome privilege of leading the Fellowship of Christian Athletes on our campus – one of the organizations that made an impact on me when I was in high school. It's so funny how things come full circle in so many ways. The center that I get the privilege of leading would have been the very center I needed when I was teenager.
Where did you work before MCHS?
Before I took this position, I worked at the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce for nine years as the Education & Workforce Director. I coordinated the Leadership Paducah & Youth LEAD programs while leading the Chamber's efforts in workforce development. I, also, taught as a college Adjunct Instructor for about 8 years.
What's the best part of your job? What is the hardest?
The most rewarding part of my job is that I get to help students in a way that will impact their personal lives.
Sometimes, the hardest part is seeing some of the students who have really difficult family dynamics and circumstances and coming to the realization that I might not be able to help them out of their situation.
It's Teacher Appreciation Month...tell us about a teacher that has made a difference in your life...
Mrs. Reed my fourth grade teacher at Carter Elementary in Murray! She always encouraged me and looking back she never differentiated from the “haves” and “have nots”. She was very special and I always felt so much love and care when I entered her classroom. I was so young, but I never forgot that. My hope is to be a glimpse of that when students come through the doors of our center.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I love to travel. We never really went on vacations growing up because we could not afford to, so every year I try to take at least 2-3 vacations. I am thankful that I can.
Any travel plans this summer?
I have plans to go to South Beach, Miami to celebrate my upcoming 40th birthday with some of my best girlfriends who have weathered life with me and still remain by my side. So thankful for the friends that God has surrounded me with.
What is your absolute favorite food to eat? Tell us all about it...
My favorite foods to eat – French fries, pizza and Mexican food. Omgoodness, I love to eat. I have been trying to convince my trainer, that these foods should be included in my meal plan, but she is stubborn and won't go for it.