Welcoming New Cardinal Staff to the Nest
The Cardinals’ nest welcomes 14 new staff members to the team. Among these 14 individuals we find teachers, paraeducators and coaches.
In addition to five new teachers, HPS has welcomed three new paraeducators: Mr. Freddy Gabriel, Mr. Ben Larson, and Ms. Carrie Layman. On the coaching side are Mr. Gale Bly and Mr. Chad Ferguson.
In the kitchen is Mrs. Gina Smith. Along with these individuals, we also have a new accompanist for choir, Ms. Sarah Sutton, and a new speech coach, Ms. Ashley Swanson.
Paraeducators sometimes tend to be students from HPS. Mr. Gabriel graduated from Harvard Public Schools in 2020.
“The reason I was drawn into working at Harvard Public School was the environment. As a former student I got to experience the setting of a public school and how fun it can be to interact with teachers, students and friends as well as many different activities and the ability to learn something new each day,” said Gabriel.
Gabriel had quite a few jobs before coming to Harvard but his most recent one was working at Menards in Hastings.
“I am a student at heart. I love to learn about anything and everything,” added Gabriel. “Everyone deserves a chance at pursuing whatever they choose. I want to make a difference and show students that they can do what their hearts desire.”
Another paraeducator, Mr. Larson talks about how he is happy to be a Cardinal and how the staff is so welcoming. “I love the school. Everybody is so nice here. I love my job,” said Larson.
Larson has worked as a paraeducator before, making it easier for him to adapt to HPS. “So far I haven't had any problems or challenges so I believe this will be an easy year. I am really looking forward to the activities with kids coming up,” stated Larson.
Going into the academic coaching side, we have a new Cardinal, Swanson, who was given the opportunity to be the speech coach and she accepted with no hesitation.
“Theatre has always been a huge part of my life, so my experience comes from performing in high school, college and community productions as well as competing in speech throughout high school, '' said Swanson.
Swanson graduated from Deshler High School in 2010 and then attended Chadron State College, graduating with a bachelor's degree in communication arts and a minor in criminal justice. She describes her job as entertaining, fun, and engaging.
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“Since I've been in Clay County for a while I've gotten to know the students well, and I always enjoy watching them perform their speech pieces. We have so many talented students, each one with a different area of expertise, so it's fun to watch them grow and become more confident within themselves and what they're working on,” stated Swanson.
Harvard's staff did not only gain some paraeducators and teachers but also some athletic coaches.
When asked why he came to Harvard, Coach Ferguson said, “When we moved back to Nebraska, Harvard provided an opportunity to be an assistant cross country coach and also be a substitute teacher. I wanted to be involved and the school provided me the chance to do so.”
Ferguson has an associate's degree, bachelor's, and a doctorate degree from Nebraska Christian College and Palmer College. He is also close to getting his elementary education and K-12 special education from Liberty University.
“I love my job. I love being with kids and watching growth take place through commitment, effort, and hard work. I love pointing people to Christ. It is my sole mission in life, I want people to know that there is hope and redemption and freedom from the shattered state of this broken earth, even while we walk it and so much more beyond that,” stated Coach Ferguson.
For girls basketball, Harvard Public School welcomes Coach Bly who graduated from Elgin Public School and attended Peru State College where he received his business education degree.
Before retiring and coming to Harvard, Bly worked as a business teacher and coach at Keya Paha County HIgh School.
“I do love my job. I have enjoyed meeting the staff here at Harvard and also working with some of the basketball girls this summer. I’m really looking forward to getting started with basketball this fall,” said Coach Bly.
Although he is very excited for this basketball season, he has shared his challenges of recruiting enough players for this season.
“We had 6 girls show up this summer. I would love to get that number up to 10-12 this fall. We are going to have fun, compete hard, and improve all season so I am hoping some more girls will join us. We have a chance to surprise a lot of people,” stated Bly.
Harvard Public School has gained new staff who hope to have a great year and have already recognized that It is always a great day to be a Cardinal