The Iowa School Counselor Association recently awarded Laurel Klaassen the Gary Henrichs Memorial Award for the Iowa School Counselors Association (ISCA) for 2012. The $600 grant and award were presented to Ms. Klaassen, school counselor at Sibley-Ocheyedan Elementary School, at the annual ISCA conference held in Des Moines on Nov. 5-6.

The award recognizes her program, G.I.R.L.S. Empowered (Girls In Real Life Situations), with its objectives of equipping and empowering girls in areas such as communication skills, relationships, self-confidence, making positive choices, and self-concept. Ms. Klaassen offers many opportunities for this program within the school day, as well as on weekends and in the summer, always looking for ways to meet her students’ needs and availability.

The Gary Henrichs Memorial Award/Grant was created by the family of Gary Henrichs to honor and support outstanding counselors and counseling programs in Iowa schools. Gary Henrichs was a lifelong supporter of school counseling and was one of the pioneers in elementary counseling in Iowa. He joined the Iowa Department of Education in 1977 as an elementary guidance consultant where he worked until his retirement in 2000. Gary died in November 2002, while working as an elementary school counselor in Missouri.