Gone are the days of school counselors sitting in their office simply handing out college applications, making schedule changes for students, or waiting for a crisis to occur. Today, they play a vital role in the development of children.
Warren County Schools has 16 school counselors whose role is to help students in the areas of academic achievement, social development and career development, ensuring today’s students become the productive, well-adjusted adults of tomorrow.
They are saluted this week, Feb. 5-9, during National School Counseling Week.
Among the school counselors is Stacy Smith, WCHS's freshman counselor/ academic career coach.
“I became a counselor as a way to help those students who might not otherwise stand out as needing guidance or what is now called intervention or counseling," said Smith. "Those students who go unnoticed because they aren’t behavior problems, they are safe academically, they have parents the school has never seen, nor has the school needed to see. They are the students who blend into the background. I was one of those students.”
This is Smith’s 18th year as a school counselor in Warren County.
“I felt like I could relate to some students, whereas some others in the school could not," said Smith. "My childhood and background made me think I might be able to make a difference in a child’s life. I thought I might be a tangible example of ‘I made it and you can make it.’ As an adult, I can recognize what I needed as a child, therefore helping me to be a better counselor, especially to those who need it the most. My reward is just the possibility I might have played a small role in influencing a child’s life positively. Unfortunately, most of the time, I will never know if I did, but it’s that possibility that keeps me going.”
One student did make her appreciation known. As part of a homework assignment, freshman Skylar Alford was asked to write a letter to someone she was thankful for.
“I just wanted to say thank you for everything,” Skylar wrote to Smith. “You’ve really helped me through a lot. You were there for me though all my problems and you were always there when I needed someone to talk to.”
The correspondence went into detail and was heartfelt.
“Those are the moments that make it all worthwhile,” said Smith, of the letter. “From the federal level down to the state level, educators are pressured to stamp out students with great test scores. I believe it is part of a school counselor’s responsibility to ensure all parties involved in a student’s life remember that behind each score is a human being … a child that sometimes needs someone to care before he or she cares.”