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Kensington Elementary school counselor receives special award from U.S. Secret Service

When Kensington Elementary school counselor Kaitlyn Hamilton walked into her school’s media center on Wednesday afternoon, she was expecting to participate in a regularly scheduled staff meeting.

But as soon as the meeting began, she quickly realized that it would be much more.

During the Jan. 8 staff meeting, U.S. Secret Service Special Agent Eric Traceski presented Hamilton with a certificate of appreciation from U.S. Secret Service Director James M. Murray in recognition of her contributions to the federal law enforcement agency’s Childhood Outreach Program.

The Secret Service’s Childhood Outreach Program, in partnership with the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children, provides age-appropriate resources that teach children the importance of being safe online and offline. The program educates children on the dangers of sharing personal information online and discusses cyberbullying, online etiquette and more.

For nearly two years, Hamilton has taken an active role in ensuring students understand the importance of the program as well as the Secret Service’s efforts. In addition to helping coordinate 22 classes for students in third through fifth grades, Hamilton has outlined a comprehensive schedule for third graders to receive the presentations every year.

In fact, through her efforts, the Secret Service’s Charlotte District office is one of the highest producing offices for childhood outreach in the entire country.

After the presentation, Hamilton said she was still in shock to have received an award from the U.S. Secret Service. She said she’s always been passionate about teaching students the importance of personal and computer safety so a partnership with the Secret Service Childhood Outreach Program seemed like a natural fit in her role as school counselor.  

“I’m very happy to help because this is a big issue, and I want to reach as many students as possible with this message,” she said. “In my career, many things are confidential so we don’t always get a lot of recognition. That’s why I’m so grateful and appreciative to have received this recognition.”