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Staff Spotlight: Regina Petersen, Paraeducator

You might say Regina Petersen's heart is in Hazeldale Elementary School. She has lived in the community for 28 years, and worked at the school for 25 of those years. "It's changed over the years, but it's always been a good, fun community," says Regina.

In her tenure at Hazeldale, she's worked for five different principals. In addition to helping children with reading intervention, Regina also supervises all the lunch periods, is a crossing guard in the morning and does bus duty in the afternoons.

She also helps as a scorekeeper at Aloha High School basketball and volleyball games, remembering how she sat in the stands years ago watching her own children play. Regina enjoys keeping that connection with former Hazeldale students. "It's so fun seeing them again and seeing the families," says Regina. She remembers students long after they've left the halls of Hazeldale, recently attending a former student's wedding. "There's always been a few that get into my heart," she says.

"At school events, when the older kids return to visit, they ask about her without exception," says Hazeldale teacher Amy Corris."Regina is nothing short of remarkable in her work ethic and most of all, in her love for students, especially the underdogs. She goes way beyond the call of duty, both in school and out. She works quietly and diligently behind the scenes in many unexpected ways. She mends backpacks and jackets; she finds extra mittens and hats when they are needed."

Regina's connection to the community is strong. She gets choked up when she talks about the demolition of the old Hazeldale building. "The tearing down of the old school took a piece of my heart." Students and staff spent the last school year in a temporary building across town, which was a challenge for Regina, who lives within walking distance of Hazeldale. "I told myself I can do anything for ten months, but I am glad to be back here."