During her 35 years as a counselor at Santa Fe High School, Cheryl Redgate has empowered students to achieve their academic, professional and personal goals through compassion, guidance and support. Now, one congresswoman has shined a spotlight on Redgate for working tirelessly behind the scenes to improve the lives of Whittier Union students.
U.S. Rep. Linda Sanchez honored Redgate as part of National School Counseling Week, celebrated during the first full week of February to recognize the tremendous impact counselors have on helping students realize their potential.
“She has dedicated her life to empowering students and instilling in them the values of selflessness and giving, and she has made a tremendous impact on the lives of every student she meets,” Sanchez said in a Feb. 7 speech to the U.S. House of Representatives. “If more people were like Ms. Redgate, the world would be a much nicer place.”
The Whittier Union High School District Board of Trustees also recognized Redgate on Feb. 14.
“It is truly humbling to receive this honor, as everything we do at Santa Fe High is a team effort,” Redgate said. “The counselors who have mentored me and the ones I work with every day are a true inspiration. I am grateful to Congresswoman Sanchez and the District for highlighting the important work counselors across this country do every day.”
During her tenure at Santa Fe High, Redgate, who comes from a family of educators, designed comprehensive programs aimed at increasing the well-being and overall success of students in and out of the classroom. These efforts sparked a momentous dedication to community engagement that is now a cornerstone of the campus.
Many of the school’s community service opportunities stem from the work of Redgate, who sought to change students’ view of volunteerism as a requirement to bolster college applications to one of self-empowerment. She founded philanthropic programs like the Christmas Family Program and the Gratitude Project, which provide essential items to community members in need.
“It is important to support students academically, but we are also teaching them the value of giving back to the community through our service learning programs,” Redgate said. “As counselors, we try to empower students to do good by improving the lives of others. We often find ourselves awed by their compassion and desire to make the world a better place.”
In addition to establishing the Service Learning Program, Redgate also spearheaded the mission to increase parent engagement and established the school’s annual Parent Education Day, which provides parents information on how to encourage their children’s personal and academic success.
“As an educational visionary, Cheryl has fostered a caring and friendly environment that continues to thrive as an integral part of the campus culture,” Principal Craig Campbell said. “She is a gift to our school and to the community at large. She embodies the true definition of an educator and never stops working toward bettering the lives of those around here.”
Superintendent Martin Plourde lauded Redgate and her colleagues for reducing students’ barriers to learning and supporting them wherever necessary to help them achieve at the highest level.
“Cheryl and the counselors across our District deserve all the recognition in the world for helping our students, who come from a variety of backgrounds, achieve personal and academic excellence,” Plourde said. “They are true unsung heroes and work hard for all of our kids. I would like to thank her and every single counselor in Whittier Union for their role in the development of well-rounded, civic-minded students.”