Your Neighbor: Meet Casey Combs
By Mandy Haggerson
For the Clemmons Courier
Casey Combs spent her childhood in Hickory. “It was a small town and everybody knew everybody,” reflects Combs. As the middle child of three, Combs attended a small private school. She also learned from an early age how much she enjoyed soccer and didn’t mind the work that came with it. “There was only one club team and it was all boys, but I still wanted to try out and play on it,” recalls Combs. The only female on the team, Combs earned her spot and enjoyed honing her skills.
Although Combs enjoyed her soccer weekends and school friends, the family made a move to benefit their education. Combs’ parents wanted to find a school that they believed would help with the growing rigors of getting their children into college. Thus once Combs was in high school, they moved to Clemmons to attend Forsyth Country Day School. “I was mad to leave my friends, of course, but once we got there I really enjoyed it.”
Part of Combs’ enjoyable experience included running cross-country and continuing her soccer career. Combs and her teammates won two state titles under the tutelage of Coach Chris Turner. “I loved how he pushed us to set goals and meet them. He had high expectations for us,” remembers Combs who played both midfield and sweeper positions.
After successful years in sports and academic, Combs headed to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to study psychology. “I loved the campus the moment I toured it and knew it was the place for me. I also knew I wanted to be a counselor,” recalls Combs. Combs stayed the course, and received a bachelor of arts degree in psychology. Also, during her college years, she reconnected with a former friend from Hickory. “I had come home from school and I remember Michael Combs who I had known but not seen in many years came to my door. He had been dared for $1 to ring my doorbell to see what I looked like,” laughs Combs. “Afterwards, he reached out to me on Instant Messenger which was popular back then. I wasn’t convinced I should go on a date with him because I thought he was cocky. But, my friend said I should give it a shot, so I did.”
Casey enjoyed reconnecting with Michael and also applied for graduate school at Appalachian State University to get her master’s in marriage and family therapy. After she completed her program, they both decided to head back to Clemmons. Casey found a position at Family Services Child Development as part of the Winston-Salem Forsyth School Readiness Project. “I work with Head Start teachers to learn and implement strategies in the classroom to enhance students’ social and emotional skills,” explains Combs. “I love how resilient kids are. They are so appreciative of the time you spend with them, even if it’s just doing a puzzle.” Combs also provides individual and family counseling to students and parents at Head Start.
Casey can appreciate her professional hat from the perspective of a parent as well. She and Michael had their first daughter, Pippa, one year after they were married. Their second daughter, Parker, was born just a few years afterwards. Like many parents, the Combs’ weekends consist of lots of activities for their kids. They help coach their soccer teams, and instilling many of the same lessons and disciplines they learned when they were their age.
Our neighbor has never shied away from hard work, but always enjoyed it most when working together as a team towards a common goal. As a revered former soccer player, Pele once said, “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love what you are doing or learning to do.”