November 7, 2008
NORTH AUGUSTA S.C.--- November's Time to Care award winner is a woman who sees the future. She's not some kind of fortune teller, she works at Silver Bluff High School where she's like a mom to 800 kids.
Cathy Neal is rarely at a loss for words--- until the day we showed up.
News 12's Richard Rogers caught her completely off guard in the hallway near her office. "Your friends did this to you... a few students too."
She had no idea her afternoon schedule included a television appearance. She just stood there, stunned, speechless- tears welling up in her eyes.
"Its a total ambush..." Rogers told her with a hug and a laugh.
Not only were we there with the Time to Care award, her husband sent flowers and everybody in the office was in on it.
Cathy is Director of Student Services at Silver Bluff, and that covers a lot of things.
"I run the guidance department, state reports, scheduling & schedule changes, college applications, scholarships & awards" she told us.
But the one thing she loves more than anything else is helping these students find their way.
"That means i get to help them figure out what they want to do in the future."
Step inside Cathy's office and you'll see she has a wall full of success stories.
"This is my wall of fame- my children after my 16 years here."
Hundreds of faces, including one who plays pro football, a mother and nurse and one wants to be a pilot.
Cathy says, "I start when they're freshmen."
And that's exactly where Samantha Wyckoff was last year. She's just one of the people who nominated Ms. Neal for the award.
"She's amazing." Samantha told us, "she helps every student in the school and she helped me personally and i just nominated her because she's amazing- I love her."
We found signs of success everywhere in the hallways of Silver Bluff. Posters about class rings and graduations. Signs all pointing to the future. Maybe that's what makes Cathy Neal so special. She knows these students.
" When I walk down the hallways, there's not a face I don't know."
Faces all filled with promise. And somehow, she can see the signs of success in every single one of them. She makes it her mission to help them see the signs too.
"I truly, truly, truly love my job," Cathy Neal told us. She's living out her own best career advice. Find something you love doing and you'll be a success.
As always, we'd like to thank our Time to Care sponsors for making this possible. Aiken Regional Medical Center and the Taylor Auto Group.
If you would like to nominate someone for our Time to Care Award -- you can do that on this website.