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Inside the office: thoughts from your school counselors
May 10, 2023
School counselors look for their students and their goals as they grow from freshman to seniors. Seeing them grow, helping them with their personal problems, and helping them understand who they are and what they want to be is one of their biggest goals.
House 1 counselor Mr. Mullen wants to make HS a “positive experience” for students.
House one counselor Donald Mullen has recently become part of the Lancer community. He said it’s really “important for students to know their school counselors and work with them” to not only grow as a student but also as a person.
“We can assist them in making sure high school is a positive experience,” Mullen said.
Mullen wants each student to have the opportunity to have someone during their high school years to make sure it’s the experience of a lifetime.
“I enjoy helping students and supporting them with any challenge they are facing,” Mullen said. “Whether that is academics or from a social and emotional perspective.”
No matter how the student is struggling during the school year Mullen is more than willing to help, whether it’s during an academic or emotional experience.
“It is truly important that high school students take the time to understand who they are and what careers would be a good fit for them,” Mullen said.
House 2 counselor Mr. Mitchell believes that “it’s very important that students have a safe place to go to, to present future ideas.”
House two counselor Bill Mitchell, has been a part of the Lancer community not only as a counselor but as a coach since 1986.
“It’s very important that students have a safe place to go to, to present future ideas,” Mitchell said. “A place to vent, and to discuss things that are on their minds.”
Mitchell has the mindset that students don’t need to just talk about one thing, but to talk about what’s been bothering them.
“What’s very enjoyable to me is working with someone and helping them to find promise, to find hope,” Mitchell said. “The ability to do better in school, and find the classes that fit them the most.”
Mitchell doesn’t just wake up and come to LHS because he has to, but he wakes up wanting to help students.
“The promise of graduating, to find hope, and to find out what they want to do with their lives,” Mitchell said.
Walking into high school can be overwhelming, but having someone who can help with direction can be all that a student needs.
“Helping a student who might not graduate is a big accomplishment,” Mitchell said.
Students that are struggling more, who get help from counselors including Mitchell, are not only a “big accomplishment” to the students, but also the counselors who are involved.
“Some of the best success stories is that voyage,” Mitchell said.
House 3 counselor Mrs. Burkhardt wants to “see [students] on the days that are more challenging…[and] on the good days too.”
House three counselor Kaitlin Burkhardt was drawn to working with all different kinds of students in the education field. She enjoys transitioning students into high school and helping them figure out who they want to be.
“I get to interact with students who are fun,” Burkhardt said. “They brighten my days.”
Burkhardt doesn’t just help students as their support system, but gets to work with them in a way she loves.
“It’s really special to be able to work with kids that way,” Burkhardt said.
Whether it’s academically, socially, or emotionally, Burkhardt is all ears ready to help whoever is in need.
“I think oftentimes students feel like they’re alone, and we want students to realize they’re not in this alone,” Burkhardt said.
Counselors like Burkhardt are ready to take on whatever the student needs.
“I want to get to know students,” Burkhardt said. “I want to see them on the days that are more challenging, but I also want to see them on the good days too.”
Whether it’s a good day or a bad day, Burkhardt wants to see anyone in her caseload, or anyone who needs an extra shoulder to lean on.
“Hopefully students realize this is the place they can come,” Burkhardt said.
House 4 counselor Mr. Papargiris tries to “[provide] bumpers to allow the students to navigate [themselves] comfortably.”
House four counselor Kevin Papargiris takes time and commitment to help students in need, and those who need an extra shoulder to lean on. Papargiris likes to help not only his caseload with personal and academic problems, but anyone who needs a smile to brighten their day.
“I think it’s good for students to have somebody they trust and someone they can confide [in],” Papargiris said.
Papargiris wants students to have the opportunity to talk to someone, not necessarily a therapist, but someone they can trust.
“School counselors are in this great area where we deal with mental health but we are in a school setting,” Papargiris said.
Having school counselors is a good opportunity and convenience for students. All students can find someone who can listen in an everyday school setting.
“I try to motivate students to recognize, it’s not just about having that one person that you’re assigned to talk to,” Papargiris said. “But someone you feel comfortable talking to.”
Some students feel as if the counselor they are assigned/house they are in are the only sources they can reach out and talk to. But in reality, every house and counselor’s are looking for more students to stop by and visit.
“I have my ethical principles, and there’s three that I uphold the most,” Paprgiris said. “Autonomy, allowing the individual to make their own decisions for themselves. Nonmaleficence, not causing any harm to the individual. And beneficence, kind and caring,” Papargiris said.
Papargiris believes in the three ethical principles to help and direct students instead of telling them what he thinks is needed. It gives the students more freedom.
“It’s not really about me directing, it’s more about me providing bumpers to allow the students to navigate [themselves] comfortably.”
Director of School Counseling Ms. O’Dea wants to try and offer another “layer of support for students.”
Director of School Counseling Maureen O’Dea thinks school counselors are another “layer of support for students.”
Students have friends and family they can communicate with, but at Lancer Nation they have an extra support system.
“School Counselors have to fight the past stereotypes of bad guidance counselors,” O’Dea said.
Trying to fight the stereotypes is a difficult challenge for the counselors, but they do it for the students to help find and “build a relationship” with them.
“The best part for me is watching the students grow and meet their potential,” O’Dea said.
As students transform from 9th-12th grade, O’Dea’s favorite part is finally getting that chance to see them grow as a student and as a person.
“Students believe in themselves and reach goals that they work hard to achieve,” O’Dea said. “Something that has been a struggle for them.”
“We all [counselors] came from different places,” Mitchell said “But we all came for the same reason, to work with students.”
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