Above: EGHS Counselor Anne-Marie Flaherty awarded High School Counselor of the Year by Lt. Governor Sabina Matos and RI Commissioner of Education Angelica Infante-Green in a surprise ceremony in the high school library Monday.
Surprise! The anticipation and excitement in the EGHS library Monday (2/6) was palpable. Local and state dignitaries, including Lt. Governor Sabina Matos, R.I. Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green, Supt. Dr. Brian Ricca, as well as RISCA President Lisa Fontaine, gathered at the East Greenwich High School Library to award the 2022 RI School Counselor of the Year. Well, not everyone was told that story. EGHS Guidance Counselor Anne-Marie Flaherty was told to be at the library for a presentation discussing the school’s “vision of a graduate,” something the rest of the room knew would not be happening.
A quick minute into the ceremony and it was clear where the focus was falling, and that would be on Anne-Marie Flaherty. Council on Elementary and Secondary Education’s Patti DiCenso said, “As a former school counselor, it brings me great joy to celebrate Anne-Marie and the work she is doing for the students of East Greenwich and school counseling as a whole. On behalf of the council, congratulations, Anne-Marie, on being named Rhode Island School Counselor of the Year.”
In 2019, Flaherty was named the district’s School Counseling Department Chair. In 2020, Flaherty secured an American School Counselor Association (ASCA) grant, which enabled the program to hire an additional school counselor. Mrs. Flaherty has been a part of the East Greenwich School District for nearly 25 years, and more than 30 years in education overall.
A gubernatorial proclamation was also read during the ceremony by Lt. Gov Matos on behalf of Gov. McKee. “Congratulations, Anne-Marie, on this tremendous recognition. Your commitment to the success of your students is unwavering, and we are deeply thankful to have you as a member of the Rhode Island education community. Additionally, my administration would like to send our sincere gratitude to school counselors around Rhode Island. I am happy to sign the proclamation marking February 6-10, 2023 as Rhode Island School Counseling Week.”
“At East Greenwich High School, the traditional Guidance Department has evolved into an integrated School Counseling Hub,” said Supt. Ricca. “Under Anne-Marie’s stewardship, this student-centric School Counseling Office embodies our district’s strategic commitment to All Means All. It prioritizes relationships, which is how we make our difference in education.”
Looking around the room, everyone – including the students who had class in the library at the time – appeared genuinely happy for Mrs. Flaherty when she received her award. Who doesn’t love being at a good surprise party?