The Shinnston News & Harrison County Journal has named Kim Sabo as November’s Citizen of the Month, a program sponsored by Dorsey Funeral Home in Shinnston – locally owned and operated.
By TRINA RUNNER
News & Journal Staff Writer
The words resilience, perseverance, and tenacity might be defined in the dictionary, but until one sees them in action, they are never truly learned. As Simpson Elementary Fourth Grade Teacher Kim Sabo found, a challenging year personally can present countless opportunities to teach these concepts to young minds, enabling them to see the extraordinary strength in their teacher and the potential in themselves.
This year, Sabo was diagnosed with breast cancer, a diagnosis that would send many into turmoil. Instead, she saw the opportunity to demonstrate to her students that she was not only committed to them, but that work ethic, kindness and creativity were important parts of bouncing back during difficult times.
In her 36 years as an educator, Sabo is a self-described “Old School” teacher. Instead of buying into every passing trend, she sticks with what she has seen work and sometimes that includes very basic concepts. Although she has taught Science and Special Education, her passion for Language Arts has been a constant thread through her career. Her students are taught proper grammar, spelling and punctuation and expected to apply that knowledge regardless of the subject at hand. To Sabo, those core concepts are the stepping stones to a successful school and professional career.
“It was very difficult going through chemo and then the horrific burns from radiation that sent me to the wound clinic,” said Sabo. “But, I rarely missed work. It became my sense of normalcy amid all the chaos.”
A strong proponent of allowing educators to be the experts within the classroom, Sabo uses creative approaches to keep students interested. Throughout her career, she has had students create science ornaments for the holidays, encouraging them to use their imaginations to make one-of-a-kind creations that show scientific lessons they learned throughout the year. The project not only reinforces science lessons, but also teaches presentation skills, writing skills and gives them the opportunity to answer spontaneous questions from classmates.
Knowing the impact of constant stimuli from electronics, Sabo is also teaching the students the importance of unplugging. This year, students are designing a game that fits into a shoebox, with materials being upcycled from items found in their homes. They are learning design, strategy, and presentation skills while, again, using their imaginations.
Despite her challenging year battling cancer and helping her injured husband, Sabo has emerged victorious as an inspiration to the staff at her school and those who have witnessed her dedication and commitment to God, family and the students she loves.