The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

Madelyn Treadway
FCHS Instructional Assistant Jesse Stover at work in the BEST Lab. Photo courtesy of Madelyn Treadway.

Stover’s Path to the BEST Lab

Sometimes, school can be just too much. When that happens, many students try to find a safe space to retreat to. For some, the best spot is the library. For others, it’s the gym. However, there’s a third spot at FCHS that offers a safe, secluded place for students when they can’t focus in a regular classroom. This space is called the BEST Lab.

The BEST (Behavior Education and Social-emotional Teaching) Lab provides a safe space for students to de-escalate their emotions and create positive mindsets so they walk out of school happy and confident. The instructors in the BEST Lab also help cultivate positive relationships and teach students new skills.

“I help students accomplish their goals so they can experience success,” said Jesse Stover, the instructional assistant in the BEST Lab. “I mentor students and make positive relationships with them,” added Stover.

He notes that his biggest role is to provide a safe environment for students while mentoring them through their hardships. As a mentor, he helps students have positive mindsets, work on social and emotional skills, build communication skills, and make positive life decisions. He also helps students learn how to de-escalate their emotions. Finally, he allows students to vent about their stressors before helping them find positive solutions. By allowing them to vent to him, Stover gives students a place to express and learn to control their emotions and work through their stress.

Stover has been working at the Fluvanna County High School for three years in different positions. He started as a classroom aide before becoming a job coach and working with FCHS teacher Nick Ward. This year, Stover took over the BEST Lab as an instructional assistant and mentor.

His route to his current position had some twists and turns. He graduated in 2004 from Allegheny High School in Allegheny County, Virginia, then spent a semester at Dabney S. Lancaster Community College (DSLCC), now called Mountain Gateway Community College. Before finishing his degree, Stover dropped out, he said, because he was young and naive.

“I’m not embarrassed about dropping out because everyone has a different path in life,” he said.

Stover ended up working in home health care to help residents with everyday needs before becoming a paraprofessional, an educational worker who is not a fully certified teacher, but instead, works as an assistant. He became certified as a paraprofessional at the Fluvanna County School Board Office in Palmyra.

“[It was the] best decision I have ever made. I would like to thank Mr. [Don] Stribling for giving me the confidence to become a teacher and a mentor. He saw something in me I didn’t see,” Stover said.

Now, Stover says, “I love my job, and many people can’t say that. Even on stressful days, I love seeing my students,” he said.

When he’s not at school, Stover says he enjoys hobbies including working out (especially lifting weights), taking naps, spending time with his family, and watching movies.

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