This week, we’re excited to celebrate National School Counseling Week to help bring awareness to the important role that our K-12 school counselors have as they dedicate their professional lives to care for and support our students to help them achieve school success and plan for their futures. From providing safe and supportive areas for students to receive mental health or social help, to helping students remove barriers to academic success, to providing classroom lessons, to helping kids figure out “what they want to be when they grow up,” school counselors are celebrated not only this week–but every day–for the unique work they do to support all aspects of a student’s journey through school as they help each reach their potential to become his or her best. Today, we’re proud to highlight our last--but biggest--counseling team at the Senior High: Mrs. Nicole Daub (A-Dough), Mr. Owen Jones (Doughl-Hun), Mr. Bryan Lefever (Hu-Mo), Ms. Ashley Rosa (Mu-She) and Mrs. Andrea Freese (Shi-Z). Together, they're joined by Mrs. Alycia Lenhart (Student Assistance Coordinator), Mrs. Mary Matetich-Patton (Guidance Technician and Scholarship Coordinator) and Mrs. Laurie Zeiber (Secretary).
Q: How long have you been a school counselor? How long have you worked at Exeter?
Mrs. Daub: I have been working as a school counselor for 10 years--7 of those being at Exeter.
Mr. Jones: I've been a counselor since 2005, and one at Exeter since 2008.
Mr. Lefever: This is my 10th year as a school counselor and at Exeter.
Ms. Rosa: This is my 5th year as a school counselor, and I have worked at Exeter for all 5 of those years.
Mrs. Freese: 16 years! They have all been at Exeter, with my first year being at the Junior High.
Q: Did you do anything prior to becoming a counselor? If so, what? Why did you change your career?
Mrs. Daub: During graduate school, I was a personal care assistant and paraprofessional. I worked with a student diagnosed with autism and Down's Syndrome using the Applied Behavioral Analysis approach and techniques. Immediately after completing my school counseling program, I was hired as a school counselor and have been doing that since.
Mr. Jones: I have always been a school counselor; however, I started my education as a Physical Therapy major.
Mr. Lefever: I taught in the Machine shop and Mechanical Drafting program at Lancaster County Career and Technology Center. Before that I was a Tooling Engineer.
Ms. Rosa: I knew I wanted to be a school counselor since high school.
Mrs. Freese: I was Vice President of Human Resources for Reading Truck Body, Inc. My desire to work with adolescents prompted me to pursue a masters in counseling education and leave the business world.
Q: What's your favorite part of your job?
Mrs. Daub: My favorite part of being a school counselor is meeting individually with students to help support their needs and goals, whatever those may be: academically, socially, emotionally, post-secondary, etc.
Mr. Jones: I love helping students and staff with any question or concern that they have and removing that barrier to their continued success.
Mr. Lefever: Working one-on-one with students.
Ms. Rosa: The amazing students that I work with who are inspiring, hard working, who persevere through the most challenging times. As a school counselor I work with students with a wide range of strengths, abilities and goals. I also have the best coworkers!
Mrs. Freese: Working with so many amazing students and families.
Q: What's the most challenging part of your job?
Mrs. Daub: In supporting students in all facets of their lives, we often have difficult conversations with students and families regarding sensitive topics, crises, unfortunate situations, etc. There are some days where compartmentalizing work from home is needed, but very difficult.
Mr. Jones: The most challenging part is managing the time it takes to address everyone's needs. I would love to be able to spend more time with students.
Mr. Lefever: Breaking news to parents about a crisis situation their child is in.
Ms. Rosa: Time.I wish I had more time to spend with students.
Mrs. Freese: Being able to have enough time to support students in the way I would like to.
Q: If you were talking to someone who knew nothing about your work, how would you complete this sentence? “People are surprised to learn that I….”
Mrs. Daub: ...While my day is always planned, it is fairly typical that I am not able to follow the schedule I have outlined. Our counseling doors are always open to students, and in doing so, we, as school counselors, are ready to handle the immediate needs of our students. No day is the same, and there is always the possibility of a change to what was planned.
Mr. Lefever: ...Do something different every day, no two days are alike.
Ms. Rosa: ...Utilize a zen garden in my office.
Mrs. Freese: ..Spend most days seeing students all day long.
Q: The theme for this year’s School Counseling Week is “Better Together.” What does that mean to you?
Mrs. Daub: Working together, as a team, is how we help ensure that we are supporting students in all facets of their lives to the best that we can. School counselors are constantly working together, with students and their families, with teachers and administration, and with support staff and the community to ensure the needs are being met and that supports are in place to help students meet their goals.
Mr. Owens: It means that when you are part of a wonderful team you can really make a difference in the lives of those you interact with. We all make each other better.
Mr. Lefever: It's always about a team: teachers, administrators, parents, students, counseling team, and many other support staff. There is nothing I do, that I do alone.
Ms. Rosa: I see this theme in two ways. First, I could not do my job without the support of my coworkers. We lean on each other and it makes being a school counselor at Exeter so much fun. I also see this theme being used school-wide. We are all here together for a reason. Working, learning, growing together will make us all stronger. Sometimes we need the strength from others to lift us up!
Mrs. Freese: The SH counseling team is amazing and I would not want to work as a counselor anywhere else.
Q: When you were in elementary school, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Mrs. Daub: An elementary school teacher.
Mr. Jones: I can't really remember, but I'm sure it had something to do with soccer.
Mr. Lefever: I wanted to join the military
Ms. Rosa: A lawyer
Mrs. Freese: A lawyer
Q: Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Mr. Jones: I'm blessed to be part of this team.
Ms. Rosa: In addition to being a school counselor I am the head boys/girls swim coach and the advisor of Student Council and Do Something Club. I enjoy working with all three of these groups. They are energetic and passionate about what they do.
Mrs. Freese: I often tell people that I have the best job in the world because of the amazing students I have the opportunity to work with.