Surprise Squad honors Springfield school adjustment counselor

The Western Mass. Hyundai Dealers Surprise Squad is back in action and is honoring educators...
The Western Mass. Hyundai Dealers Surprise Squad is back in action and is honoring educators who are making a difference.(Western Mass News)
Updated: Mar. 23, 2022 at 5:00 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - The Western Mass. Hyundai Dealers Surprise Squad is back in action and is honoring educators who are making a difference.

It was a noisy classroom filled with anticipation.

“We’ve been able to sneak around and tip toe and invite all the kids…so she has no idea this is coming,” said Jackie Clini.

Our camera crews, school staff, and students made a coordinated effort to keep a much-loved school adjustment counselor, Bridget Jansen, in the dark.

“The kids are ecstatic, as you can see. They all love her crazy,” Clini added.

David: So do you think this is a good time to start bringing her out now?

“I think so,” Clini added.

The room fell silent until everyone shouted “Surprise!”

David: “Bridget, we’ve been hearing all about the great work that you do with the kids and they say that you have a huge impact on them, so you were nominated for the Western Mass. Hyundai Dealers Surprise Squad, so congratulations to you.”

Mary: “…And you can see why. They’re running up and hugging you and we know when you go to different classrooms as a school adjustment counselor, you’re getting waves, you’re getting hellos all the time.”

David: “Now Bridget, how are you feeling right now? Are you surprised?”

“Very surprised, very overwhelmed, but so grateful. Thank you,” Jansen said.

David: “So what do you think it is that you have such an impact on these kids who obviously love you so much when they walk in the door like that.”

“Their smiles, the love that they’ve given in return, and just watching them blossom and grow is all the reward they need,” Jansen noted.

Jansen then learned who’s behind the big surprise: her colleague, computer science teacher Jackie Clini.

“Bridget is here for every single one of our children and our staff members, makes a point to check in with everybody…and she just makes everybody’s day better by her presence and as you saw, she gives the best Bridget hug in the world,” Clini said.

One of those special hugs goes to Washington Elementary Principal Keith Asher.

“As much support as she gives the students, she also gives the staff, so she’s a true team player, true definition of a team player,” Asher explained.

It was then time for the big reveal.

“We have a check for $500. We know school, supplies are always needed to take care of these little ones, so this will help out for some more supplies for you,” said Brian Houser, general manager of Balise Hyundai.

Gary Rome, president and CEO of Gary Rome Hyundai, added, “Many times, you have to dig into your own pocket to buy your own supplies, so we hope this helps and we want to recognize you for all you do every single day.”

That wasn’t all. We give Jansen a day of relaxation at a spa and an evening out for her and a guest.

“We have a little gift card for you to have a nice night out, have some dinner and stuff like that,” said Mike Paquette, sales manager at Country Hyundai.

Rome noted, “Her job is not easy. She’s an adjustment councilor, right, so she doesn’t deal with always the best situations and it’s really important that we recognize her.”

Paquette added, “The way they ran over to her...You can just see how much they like her and appreciate her.”

Houser explained,”To be able to give back a nice night out for her, as far as dinner and a fantastic spa day, is a great way to give her a treat and say thanks for all the hard work she does.”

Even with all the attention on Jansen, her focus was still on the students as she got to work doling out school supplies and living out her purpose.

“Helping kids find their smiles, so when they show me their smiles, that’s the reward that fills me up and feeds my soul,” Jansen said.

A counselor who truly cares is proving it’s the students who received the greatest gift.

This year, we’re honoring students, teachers, school staff, volunteers, anyone you think deserves a special surprise. To nominate, CLICK HERE.