In 1979, when Sheila Roberts and her family moved to Decatur, Alabama, she looked across the Tennessee River to the town of Madison and it was just cotton fields. She was a stay-at-home mother, raising two children. No longer. Today, Madison is a diverse and thriving community -- one of the fastest growing cities in the Southeast -- drawing families from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, the U.S. Army Post Redstone Arsenal and the University of Alabama at Huntsville. And Roberts counsels their students as the College and Career Advisor at Madison's Bob Jones High School.
Named for former Congressman Robert E. Jones, Jr., who represented the area from 1947 until 1977, Bob Jones is a public high school serving approximately 2,100 students. Roberts joined the staff in 2003, building the counseling program from scratch -- growing it from one file cabinet in a small study room in the Media Center to twelve file cabinets in what is now the College/Career Center. She says she is constantly struck by the benevolence, diversity and growth of the community. Bob Jones opened in 1974, moved to a larger facility in 1996, and -- underestimating the growth in the area -- had to relocate the 9th grade class a few years later until a second high school was opened last year.