Student Vanessa Munuz, left, with Debra Paxson, assistant director of rehab

On May 24, 2017, Lakeland High School in LaGrange, Indiana, presented its annual Beacon Award to Debra Paxson, physical therapist assistant and assistant director of rehab at Life Care Center of LaGrange.


The award recognizes community members who take interns from high school and mentor them in their area of expertise. Paxson was nominated by Lakeland student Vanessa Munuz.


“Because of Debra’s influence, I am now enrolled in college to become a physical therapist,” said Munuz. “She took the time to explain to me what she was doing and why while working with her residents. She has had a great impact on my life.”


Out of 35 nominees, Paxon was selected as one of five award winners. The awards were presented during a ceremony at Lakeland High School.


“Deb has taken many students over the years from Lakeland High School and has encouraged all of our building to be involved in this program,” said Michelle Watson, director of rehab services at Life Care Center of LaGrange. “We have had students in therapy, nursing, the business office and medical records. The students have been amazing, and the residents love their interaction with them.”


Watson added, “Out of the students we have had the past four years, four of them have enrolled in school to become doctors of physical therapy, which is greatly due to Deb’s influence and excellent teaching and mentoring.”


This coming school year, the facility will again host interns, and Paxson will begin serving on the school’s advisory committee.