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Griffith reaching goal to work as counselor

The Griffiths: Shrader, from left, Will, Sonja and Bill. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – Sonja Griffith loves Southern living. “Madison has all the qualities, such as knowing your neighbors, friendly service and warm winters,” she said.

Sonja and husband Bill grew up in the small, Appalachian coal-mining town of Grundy, Va. They have lived in North Carolina, Maryland and twice in Arkansas. Madison’s size and proximity to larger cities pleases Sonja.

Transitioning to Madison went smoothly because many people also are ‘transplants.’ For the first time, they live where many husbands, like Bill, travel frequently for business.

“There’s camaraderie among moms to help each other,” Sonja said. “I’m very grateful for the support system (for) my children. We chose Madison over surrounding areas for its excellent school system.”

Sonja earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech).

After college in Northwest Arkansas, Sonja worked as an ELL teacher. Bill entered the poultry industry, first with Tyson Foods and then Perdue Farms Inc. in North Carolina and Maryland and currently with Keystone Foods.

Their children are Shrader, Bob Jones High School graduate and University of Mississippi freshman, and Will, Discovery Middle School eighth-grader.

After working on PTA boards at Rainbow Elementary School and Discovery, Sonja served as President of Madison City PTA Council two years. She has volunteered with ESL Ministry at Asbury United Methodist Church, Madison Hospital Women’s Council and Huntsville Women’s Tennis Association.  

Currently, Sonja teaches one block of Spanish 1 at Bob Jones while completing a master’s degree in school counseling. “I’m doing my internships at Bob Jones and Rainbow. Last year, I taught elementary Spanish at Madison Elementary School and Rainbow,” she said.

Since first teaching in Arkansas, she had wanted to pursue her degree in school counseling but the timing never seemed right. Two years ago, she completed Alabama certification for Spanish. “It’s nice to go to events … know many of the kids and hear, ‘Hola!’”

“We have one spoiled-rotten dog, Mick, a terrier mix. We adopted him through MARF about six years ago,” Sonja said.

A Netflix fan, Sonja currently watches “Call the Midwife.” She enjoys reading, especially historical fiction and author Rick Bragg, and playing tennis.

The Griffiths’ favorite restaurants are El Olmeca, Fulin’s, Bento Box and Libby’s.

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