School counselors go above and beyond to help students, keep kids from falling through cracks

The Watkins Mill High School guidance department--they dont just schedule classes.

Jason Henriquez-Ayala

The Watkins Mill High School guidance department–they don’t just schedule classes.

Katelyn Burley and Grace Edwards

“My counselor helps me so much.” 

“Don’t they just do scheduling?” 

School counselors are the real superheros of MCPS; they protect, tackle problems, and uplift students. Scheduling classes is just the tip of the iceberg. 

Counselors are here to help with anything necessary, whether it be a school issue or something personal.  “There is very little that we don’t do,” school counselor Krista Anders said. “There are a lot of students with a lot of needs. We try and touch on them all.” 

“We deal with real life issues that can seriously impact people’s lives, and we are there to try to be a resource and see how we can help,” resource counselor Paul Young said. “We don’t always have the answers, but it’s about being there for someone else.” 

A counselor’s office can also just be a place to relax and de-stress. “If [students] are feeling anxious, or they need ten minutes for themselves, they can come and sit here,” school counselor Jessica Salomon said. “If you want to talk, we can talk; if you just want to sit quietly by yourself, you can do that, too. They can come in and really tell me anything, and I’m not going to judge them or do any of that.”

“Whenever I needed somebody to talk to [my counselor is] usually one of the first people I will go to,” senior Eugene Jackson said.  “She gave me recommendations. She made sure I was always going to class and doing my work.”

When the office gets busy, counselors work as a team to help the students at the Mill. “If a student comes in, and one of us isn’t here, any counselor is going to talk to that student,” Salomon added. “It’s never ‘these are your kids and only you can talk to your kids’… There’s always somebody here.”  

These undiscovered heroes not only fight off the bad guys, but they uplift students. “Ultimately, I want to help each student achieve their maximum potential,” school counselor Michael Ryan said. “Whether they need [support that is] academic, emotional, [or a] schedule change.” 

“If I am struggling with something, my counselor is always there to help me and support me, whether it be a personal matter or an academic matter,” senior Ligia Delgadillo said.

Counselors strive to create a welcoming atmosphere: soft lights and posters help create a comfortable environment for their students. “You want a place where students feel like they can come to, not shy away from the counseling office,” Young said. 

“If you haven’t experienced a counselor, you won’t really know what we do,” Salomon added, “I think everyone, all schools, need more counselors… kids fall through the cracks, is what we call it. And we don’t want that at all.” 

“Counselors are not just to help you deal with problems. We want to hear the good stuff,” Young added. Thank a counselor for all that they do. The counseling department is so much more than just scheduling. 

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