National School Counseling Week, February 7-11
National School Counseling Week is a time to honor the important work of school counselors and to advocate for the profession. Youth Solutions’ Manager of Program Success, Gretchen Panicucci, has a Master’s of Counseling Psychology and Counselor Education, is a licensed school counselor and a licensed professional counselor. She worked in public education for 16 years, some of that time as a middle school and high school counselor.
“Working as a school counselor was the most rewarding and exhausting time in my career. I know that my presence alone made a huge difference in the lives of my students. Sometimes solving someone’s problem was as simple as lending them a pencil, but other times the problem was so heavy it was difficult to fight back tears. Being a source of strength for a student, someone they knew they could count on, made the difficult times worth it. I cried tears of joy with students when they got accepted into college, and I cried tears of sadness with students when they lost a loved one. I will cherish my time as a school counselor forever as it’s a time in my life where I can confidently say that I made a difference.”
School counselors collaborate with teachers, parents, and community and postsecondary partners to ensure students are successful in high school and beyond. Whether it’s facilitating team meetings to support students in the classroom or working with community organizations to offer scholarships, intentional collaboration provides the foundation for the impactful work of school counselors.
School counselors are connectors. The needs of students influence everything school counselors do. School counselors play a vital role in connecting students to outside resources when solutions cannot be found within the school. Whether it’s making a referral when mental health concerns require the attention of a professional or when a student needs a coat to keep them warm, school counselors can often be seen as connectors to hope.
Simply put, school counselors care. School counselors work hard to build solid relationships with all students, parents, and school personnel. They are trusted adults who can truly make a difference in the educational setting.
School counselors are needed now more than ever in a time when youth have experienced significant changes and challenges in their lives.