By C. Josh Givens
Laura Kessans has been awarded the title of 2022 Hancock County Citizen of the Year. Kessans was recognized Monday evening at the annual dinner of the Hancock County Chamber of Commerce.
Kessans not only serves the community as the Youth Services Center Coordinator for Hancock Middle and High Schools, she also volunteers her time for several youth programs and church programs in the county.
Kessans and husband, Jeff, are overseeing the girls summer softball league at Vastwood Park, and she also serves as song leader at Hawesville United Methodist Church, where she also involved with the youth group.
Additionally, she volunteers in community education as a dance fitness instructor, also teaching classes weekly at EverBody’s Fun & Fitness Center in Tell City.
“I am so overwhelmed to have received this recognition,” Kessans said. “There was never a thought I would ever be worthy to be nominated, especially when you look at the list of wonderful people who have received the award and done so much for this community. I am humbled, and it is so moving to be included.”
Kessans will soon enter her 16th year working in the FRYSC for Hancock County Schools, saying the job is “a calling in serving people, doing the work of above, to remove barriers to learning which are found outside education.”
“We know there are people in our community who need a helping hand and someone to be in their corner,” Kessans said. “But I am not naïve enough to believe I might not be among them one day, so I take my role to heart and believe in what we do.”
After two years of the COVID-19 pandemic and increasing inflation in the United States not seen in more than a generation, Kessans is acutely aware of the work she and her cohorts perform in assuring students and families have what they need.
“I tell people my title should be ‘Mom of the school,’” she said. “Some people believe our job is giving a kid a pair of socks, but I can find myself helping a young person with a new pair of shoes or helping them find a summer job. The needs in our community are as diverse as the people, so you have to be ready to face it with them.”
While the community has been extremely supportive of the district’s Backpack Program – which provides weekly food to students in need – and the Christmas gift program, to the point no state funds are used to provide resources, Kessans has concerns current economic pressures could affect those levels of giving.
“The General Assembly, Gov. Andy Beshear, and Dr. Steven Stack at Health and Family Services, have recognized the growing needs of families in Kentucky, and provided our resource centers with increased funding per student,” Kessans said. “We have allies in state government for our children and families, so that is encouraging.”
Kessans is a native of Hancock County, the daughter of Mike and Debby Carroll. She is a graduate of Western Kentucky University, earning her Bachelor of Science in public health education. Previous to coming to work for Hancock Schools, she worked in public health education for Three Rivers Health Department in Owenton and Green River District Health Department.
Laura and Jeff Kessans are the parents to daughters Rylan and Bella. Jeff is the physical education educator at Hancock County High School, and coach of the Hancock County Middle School football program.