Did you know that counselors do more than just manage schedules?


This is a photo of Farah Abuqalbeen having a casual talk with sophmore Ames Wyeth. They seemed to know one another very well. Farah said, “I wish I could do more of the mental health piece I went to school for.” Photo: James Warren

James Warren, Staff Writer

Throughout a students high school life, they will have to interact with their counselor to change out of a class or to choose your classes for the next school year. If a student talks to their counselor they most likely don’t consider their counselor as anymore than their schedule manager.

What some students and some parents don’t know is that the school counselors do more than just manage hundreds of students classes, they are also licensed therapists.

South high counselor Farah Abuqalbeen wishes she could do more work with mental health for students. “When I started working as a counselor I didn’t realize how much of this job was changing schedules and talking to students about their schedules. It’s the majority of my time,” said Abuqalbeen. She had realized that she wanted to help students more with mental health when she first started her job as a counselor and has put student’s mental health above class scheduling every chance she gets ever since.

Sophomore Daniel Gubrud knows a large number of people who have experienced hard times and normally suggests them to go to their counselors but has only talked to thier counsler Kelsey Clark around two times. “I don’t know my counselor, I just remember she was like this really nice lady,” said Gubard. Even though he has never actually met his counselor more than twice or really know much about her, he still recommends people to at least try to talk to their counselor.

At this moment in the South high school counselor office, the school counselors are busy with a lot of scheduling for students future classes. They don’t have too much time to spare this time of year in February,  but even so they still try to support the students in any way they possibly can. Abuqalbeen said, “while I do get to do some mental health work, it’s not enough.”

As there are a few students that come to the school counselors for mental health support, not a large amount of students, staff, and parents know that the counselors are trained it that. Abuqalbeen and Kelsey Clark, another counselor at South, both have explained how everyone should become more educated on what exactly the school counselors are supposed to do when it comes to their whole job, not just with mental health.

Senior Vivian Spitzer has interacted with her counselor Farah Abuqalbeen. Spitzer said, “I really like my counselor, I’ve only had her for this year but I think she’s really great.” She even encourages her fellow students to interact more with there counselor, “my freshman and sophomore year I didn’t really take advantage of that resource and I think it’s really helpful and something people should do.”

“We have a counseling website where we put a lot of information,” said Clark. As there is a counseling slide on the south website that gives information on what the counselors do, but not everybody goes to the website. Clark also said, “we have brochures that we make with kinda ‘what we do and how to reach us.’” The chances of student’s looking at random papers in the hallway seem very low, which is why they try to have even more ways for students and parents alike to get more educated on what school counselors are supposed to do.

Abuqalbeen said,” we used to have an advisor here who would invite community members like, parents, teachers, students, admins, to explain what our role is to kind of just educate them on that.” The only problem with this is that there isn’t much of it going on this year but they did try to bring it back this year at one point in the fall but not a lot of people had participated so it didn’t really continue.

Abuqalbeen also gave possible ways to let others know about what the school counselors do and each of these jobs have been carried out for a while now only on a small scale. Gubrud is an example of someone who lets others who need support know that they could talk to their counselor about those topics. Gubrud acts as a sort of messenger in a chain of people telling about what school counselors do. “This school is really good because we have these great counselors that are here for you,” said Gubrud.

“Any opportunity that I think any of us on the team have to speak about what a school counselor does, were always willing to share that information,” said Clark.