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Golden Heart Honoree: Isaac Okoye

Isaac Okoye Isaac Okoye knows that keeping a school community secure is about much more than physical boundaries and visitor supervision.

A security specialist at Cherokee Trail High School, Okoye demonstrates a commitment to keeping the campus safe by creating a sense of safety, acceptance and tolerance. Okoye works to forge meaningful, impactful bonds with students that will make them feel valued and valuable.

Okoye has worked hard to create that feeling with one student in particular, a young man who struggles with social interactions, social cues and severe behaviors. This student deals with autism, and has faced challenges finding his place in the social network at CT. A year marked by quarantine, online learning and other unprecedented hurdles hasn’t made the process any easier.

Happily, Okoye has been more than willing to make the student’s daily experience at Cherokee Trail a lot easier. Starting during the student’s freshman year, Okoye has effectively worked to make him feel more accepted and more prepared to handle the daily routines of classes, social interactions and student life. According to Okoye’s nomination form, he’s helped the student feel comfortable and safe.

That commitment has remained consistent during good times and bad.

“When this student has had major behavior issues, Isaac is one of the few people that has been able to de-escalate situations,” Okoye’s colleague wrote in the nomination. “This student tried to leave campus and Isaac was only one of two staff that was able to get the student to stop and talk with him about the problem and problem-solve through the issue.”

This commitment didn’t stop when the school shifted to Remote learning in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. As students took to learning from home, Okoye connected with the student virtually every week, making sure that homework was completed and that any issues, problems or difficulties were dealt with in a safe and healthy way.

Okoye’s firsthand involvement has given this student tools to succeed long after high school, and it’s proven that this security specialist approaches his work with a "Golden Heart."

Posted 3/10/21 at 9 AM