Editor's Note: Gov. Mark Dayton declared Jan. 16-20 as Paraprofessional Recognition Week. To recognize some of the professionals working within the Richfield school community, this week Richfield Patch is featuring a series of articles on these people—who were all suggested by school administrators, teachers, staff members and parents.
As a young girl growing up in Liberia, Lucy Zubah knew she wanted to work with the most vulnerable humans.
“I just love helping people,” Zubah told Richfield Patch. “I always knew I wanted to work with kids who don’t have voices on their own, who have trouble expressing themselves in the way they want.”
Zubah came to the United States as a 16-year-old, in 1989, and she has been working as special education paraprofessional at since the fall of 2004. She works mostly with teens who have behavioral problems such as anger management issues or attention deficit disorder. While most people would find the task of dealing with moody teenagers too demanding, Zubah said she can handle it.
“I’m very, very, very patient,” she said with a laugh. “It takes a lot to get me upset. I think in all my years here, I’ve maybe gone off once. We respect these kids so much that we don’t talk bad in front of them.”
Zubah also considered becoming a nurse after graduating from Roseville High School, but after beginning her studies, she found nursing just wasn’t for her. However, working in the human services field is in her blood. Zubah’s father was a soldier in the U.S. Army and then worked as a nursing assistant for many years at the University of Minnesota Medical Center. In addition, one of her sisters works at a metro area women’s shelter.
Richfield High said Zubah consistently demonstrates leadership in the classroom.
“[Lucy] has great relationship with kids, and always has a positive attitude with a smile on her face,” he said.
“The key to surviving is patience. Any baggage you have needs to be left at the door so you can focus on the kids," Zubah said. “It’s [obviously] not about the money. It’s just what I love to do.”