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Episode 93: School Counselors Get Surprise of a Lifetime

They are a source of strength, kindness and compassion for students, always ready and willing to help in any way they can. We are talking about school counselors.

On this episode of the Supercast, find out what happens when the Superintendent joins in on a big surprise for some of these dedicated employees. Employees who had no idea they were about to receive the honor of a lifetime.


Audio Transcription

Anthony Godfrey:
Welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. There are a source of strength, kindness, and compassion for students, always ready and willing to help in any way they can. We're talking about school counselors on this episode of the super cast. Find out what happens when I joined in on a big surprise for some of these dedicated employees, employees who had no idea, they were about to receive the honor of it.

Anthony Godfrey:
We are here at Fort Herriman Middle School with Allie Barson, Counselor of the Year for the State of Utah. Allie, how does that feel?

Allie:
Pretty amazing.

Anthony Godfrey:
It's great to have your family here. You have a ton of support, and I saw a standing ovation here in the Media Center for you. Obviously, the school really appreciates what you do.

Allie:
We have an amazing school here.

Anthony Godfrey:
So I saw that your team was right there beside you. Also, tell me about working with the team here at Fort Herriman.

Allie:
So I have an amazing team of counselors. We work really well together and they just are always thinking of the best thing for students and how we support the students and the teachers and the entire school.

Anthony Godfrey:
I was talking with your principal on the way in, and he told me all about all the things you're doing with social, emotional learning.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me a little bit about that.

Allie:
So that's definitely our passion here. We love to support the kids in that way. So truthfully, a huge part of it is the teachers that are very supportive and are teaching lessons in their class. We have a whole curriculum that we do every TA and we have our leaderships groups that also create lessons for our students. So it's pretty amazing.

Anthony Godfrey:
What do you like most about being a counselor?

Allie:
I love watching the kids grow, so that's why I love middle school specifically because they grow and change so much throughout those years. Watching them just come into their own and figure out who they are is just so incredible to watch.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's a great way of putting it. I loved it as a middle school teacher and principal as well. You just, you get to see such growth from seventh to ninth grade and working with that group of students, you get to see them move forward.

Allie:
Yeah, it's pretty amazing. I actually ran into one of my used to be students and she's now graduating. So it was so great to be able to hear what she's doing and her plans for college and everything.

Anthony Godfrey:
Thanks again for all your great work. We need counselors more than ever. Thank you so much.

Anthony Godfrey:
We're here at Copper Hills High school with the Utah School Counselor Association, Rookie of the Year, Derek Bennett. Derek, congratulations.

Derek:
Thank you. It really is an honor. I'm humbled and grateful. Really.

Anthony Godfrey:
So you are Rookie of the Year. How long have you been a counselor?

Derek:
This is my fourth full year as a counselor, all in Jordan District, all here at Copper Hills.

Anthony Godfrey:
Wonderful. What made you want to be a counselor?

Derek:
You know, ultimately I transitioned from actually working in drug treatment and college athletics to wanting to have a greater impact with teenagers. It's for those formative years and realistically, those are some of the best years of somebody's life. I wanted to have an impact during that crucial time, academically, emotionally, socially, and help students transition into adulthood.

Anthony Godfrey:
What are some of the unique things that are happening here at Copper Hills High School?

Derek:
Yeah, at Copper Hills we work hard to ensure every student feels college and career ready. We did that in English. Myself and another counselor have gone to classes and worked in Spanish to help those students who may have English as a second language. We do CCRS in Tongan and we have all that posted on our website so that they have resources here. Mr. Groethe, one of our administrators and I created a program called Project Z. That's where we take all the students who are skipping school, not going to class, not using, you know really the opposite of what we call it to benefit their academics. And we take them and we talk about a TED talk where we talk about something that's going on in the world, because we want them, those students who might fall through the cracks, to feel like they're welcome here at Copper Hills as well.

Anthony Godfrey:
What would you say to someone who's considering becoming a counselor?

Derek:
I'd say go for it. Absolutely. Everything in life, you know, has a reason and a purpose. And if your purpose and reason is to succeed professionally, you are to be a counselor, absolutely go for it. There's so many people that you can benefit; faculty, administration, yourself, your family, and most importantly, the students.

Anthony Godfrey:
You're Rookie of the Year and you're Department Chair. And I got a sense there's a real feeling of of being a team here at Copper Hills.

Derek:
Absolutely. When I was asked to be Department Chair last year, I made it a point to have it be a team. You know, we're not just a department. We truly are a team. My emails start with the morning Team, Hello Team, Happy Friday Team. And really, that's something that's permeated through these two years. We do team activities once a month where it's a team building exercise, and it can go from everything from miniature golf in the hallways to talking about how to pronounce Mexican-American names or Polynesian names. Really, we try to be inclusive. The team here is fantastic. We have eight solid and quality counselors, along with the wonderful support staff. But realistically, you know, I wouldn't want to change my team for anybody else.

Anthony Godfrey:
Let me know. the next time miniature golf in the hall is happening.

Derek:
We have we have Corn Hole coming up, not this Friday, but next Friday. You're welcome to join.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, we're sure glad to have you here at Copper Hills and Jordan School District. And I know that your team and the students appreciate it. So thanks for everything you're doing.

Derek:
Thank you very much. It's a great day to be a Grizzly!

Anthony Godfrey:
Stay with us. We'll be back with more right after this break.

Break:
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Anthony:
We're here at Riverton high school with the Team of the Year from the Utah School Counselor Association. In fact, Jordan School District swept all the awards this year, which is really exciting. Normally we know it's award season in the entertainment industry, but it's also award season in the education industry. And we're really excited for this team. So I want to go around, they're all holding their hardware, by the way, kind of over their heart or close up against their chest, because they are really excited about this award and very deserving of this award. It's really exciting. We're going to start with Brian here. Tell us what do you love most about being a counselor?

Brian:
Just like working with students. A lot and just getting to know the community. I love the Riverton community and it's a great school and a great team to come in and serve the students with.

Anthony Godfrey:
How about you, Holly?

Holly:
I enjoy being a counselor because it's the one thing that when you go home at the end of the day, you know, you've done something good.

Anthony Godfrey:
Katelyn.

Katelyn:
I love advocating for my students. I think the counseling group are one of the only people that can really advocate for a student with counseling. So I love doing that.

Anthony Godfrey:
How about you, Kristen?

Kristen:
I always feel it's a privilege to work with our youth because they're our future. Listening to what their goals and aspirations are, and then trying to provide them with resources to attain them. I just think, what a better gift and a privilege to be a counselor to be able to do that. So, everyday I come to school, I'm just grateful to be part of  the Riverton community and team.

Anthony Godfrey:
And how about you, Amy?

Amy:
I really enjoy the relationships that I build with the students. That's the best part of the job for sure. And then also, we have the great team and I love to work with our coworkers.

Anthony Godfrey:
Natalie.

Natalie:
I'm trying to think of things that not everybody has already said, but I just really love working with kids and our job is unique in that sometimes you're there for emotional support. Other times you're talking with schedules and graduation or guidance and post-secondary endeavors and you know, where they want to go to college. Just being able to be there and support students and in all those different ways. It's just really fulfilling and I love our community and I love our students.

Anthony Godfrey:
So how does it feel to work on the Team of the Year?

Natalie:
Every single person here is a true professional. So I love being on this team.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, we love having this team here. Congratulations and honor well-deserved. And even though I had nothing to do with it, I'm really going to enjoy it for a long time.

Anthony Godfrey:
We're here with the Officers of the Utah School Counselors Association. I'll let them introduce themselves.

Officer:
I'm Hillary Emer, I am the president this year for USCAP. I'm Kate Staker, I am the elementary vice president elect and the award's chair. I'm Shauna Walker and I am the president elect this year.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me about this awards season for counselors.

Officer:
Jordan School District swept the awards.

Anthony Godfrey:
If I'm not mistaken, we did, which I don't know that that's ever happened in all the years I've been involved. We were looking back at the historical records. So I guess this was a first for the association and pretty cool.

Officer:
I obviously am very excited being a Jordan District Counselor, but I do have to say I wasn't a part of the process. It was a very honest format and we, the counselors that were on the committee, were totally unbiased and were just during districts.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's awesome. And what would you say to anyone who's considering being a counselor out there?

Officer:
I think it's the greatest job. Honestly, this is the job I wanted to be when I grew up. So since high school I always kind of thought about being a teacher and then I discovered psychology and school counseling put these two things together. And so since high school, I kind of knew this was the route I wanted to take and really geared my career path toward that. So it's awesome for me because I am living what I wanted to be.

Officer:
Yeah, it's very, very rewarding. You put in a lot of hard work to really help these kids. And when you see their successes, it's just amazing. I love being a counselor. I love working with kids. I could actually retire, but I love my kids. And so when they come in or a parent tells me, "Hey, we appreciate all you've done." Just met with a parent this morning. And they were grateful for the solutions I offered. That totally makes my job worthwhile and being at Herriman High, when kids walk across the stage and get their diploma, I absolutely love it. So I just love working with kids. So being a counselor is great because you can work with them on a different level than you do as a teacher where we see a great benefit to students and honestly, everyone in the school and community from the amazing work that our counselors do.

Anthony Godfrey:
Thanks for supporting counselors in their work. And thanks for the work that you were individually doing in your schools. We couldn't do anything that we do without you, so thank you very much.

Thanks for joining us on the Supercast. Remember, education is the most important thing you will do today. We'll see out there.

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