6/24/2014 12:21 P.M. ET
Benoit among Toronto's All-Star Teacher finalists
Despite being diagnosed with skin cancer, guidance counselor barely misses a beat
By Jesse Cynamon / Special to MLB.com
Lauranne Benoit is a guidance counselor at Andrew Mynarski School in Winnipeg, Manitoba, with over eight years of experience. Benoit has helped students overcome challenges ranging from eating disorders to losing a family member or simply learning to take one day at a time. Benoit says that her students know she will be there for them in any situation, and she gives the students confidence to take risks each day in their learning.
Benoit's dedication to her students proved genuine in 2012 when she was diagnosed with melanoma. Benoit did not let this keep her away from her students, as she knew how much they depended on her -- and Benoit rarely misses a day of school. Rather than letting this experience be a burden, she used it as a reminder about who and what is important in life. This experience continues to help Benoit relate to students -- reminding them to stay positive even when times are tough.
Benoit is more than a guidance counselor to her students, she is a source of advice and comfort. Benoit's ability to reach out to students and encourage them is a testament to her ability to instill trust. Benoit's love and passion for working with children was discovered at the age of 19, when she started working at a daycare center. It was this newly realized interest, and the fact that both her parents worked in education, that propelled Benoit into her career.
For this same reason, Benoit is continuously working and striving to further her career in the name of helping students. Starting out as a French teacher for her first five years, Benoit took courses at night to attain guidance counselor certification. Now, as a guidance counselor, she is again taking night courses to get her Master's, this time in the hopes of one day becoming a principal. In the meantime, Benoit is passionate about her job as a guidance counselor, and she loves to coach sports such as volleyball, cross country and track and field.
Benoit works very hard to ensure she develops and nurtures meaningful relationships with her students and their families. It is these relationships that make her job so gratifying.
"Going to work every day genuinely does not feel like work," Benoit said. "I enjoy all my time with the students."
Both schools Benoit has worked at are part of the Winnipeg School Division (North District), which is a highly multicultural student body, allowing for countless opportunities to learn about different cultures and communities.
You can vote for Benoit, or for any other Blue Jays finalists, before the June 29 deadline. The candidate with the most votes for his or her respective team will have a chance to attend, and be recognized at the 2014 All-Star Game® at Target Field in Minnesota, and one will be featured in PEOPLE.
Jesse Cynamon is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.