PINEVILLE, W. VA. (WVVA) - After teaching kindergarten and pre-k in Wyoming County, Denisa Thomas decided she wanted to find another way to help serve students in her community. So, she became a school counselor.
"During the time I was teaching, we did have a lot of students in really need of a lot of other areas that I felt like I could help students a little bit more," said Thomas.
Thomas has been a counselor for the last eight years, working in several Wyoming County Schools.
In October, Thomas' life changed after she received a breast cancer diagnosis.
"A carcinoma was my first diagnosis, at stage two at the time, because of the size," said Thomas. "Then they um proceeded to do some more test and found out it was stage four, because it had spread."
While Thomas said getting that diagnosis was scary, she was determined not to let it keep her from her students.
"You know with cancer diagnosis, I'm like they're going to want me to take off work for treatment, they're going to want me to do this, they're going to want me to... you know and I'm like, but I can do this," said Thomas. "I can still do all those things and work I just, you know, I just wanted to continue to push forth."
She said her willingness to push forward is rooted in her knowledge of just how much her students need her help right now.
"We do have a lot of struggling students, from home to school, to other things that's going on and they need a lot of support, and resources, and it's um, it's very rewarding when you know, and there's a lot of times that, you know you feel like you're not doing enough but it is very rewarding when you can help a student," said Thomas.
She added, she could not do it without the support of her colleagues and community.
"I've worked at several schools and they've all been very supportive, the whole county you know, my uh you know board office and everybody is just like we're behind you, we're praying for you," said Thomas.
She said she hopes she's setting an example, showing people there is hope. She said she knows she is showing her students that they can do anything, no matter the circumstance.
"No matter what you're going through, there is always hope and you can push forth, you know, go forward and don't let anything get you down," said Thomas.
And that's what makes Denisa Thomas a hometown hero.
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