BMHS PrideTime Reporter
One of the most mysterious parts of the Brien McMahon faculty is the guidance department. Any senior or junior would tell you that they have met their guidance counselor at least once or twice, probably about college and sometimes course selection. Occasionally you will meet one through some program at school.
A lot of students don’t really understand exactly what the guidance counselors do. Yes, they counsel, but what exactly does that mean?
Elaine Gratrix, Brien McMahon guidance counselor of 21 years says, “The counseling that I find we do is such a mix. We do the college, career, and future planning. With course selection there’s counseling there too. But there is also a good degree of personal counseling.”
What most McMahon students don’t know is that there are 10 counselors in total. Divided among the 1,400 students (give or take), there are roughly 180 students per counselor. Counselors are tasked with guiding these students on the right path whether they are discussing course selection, looking at their ‘colleges I’m applying to’ list on Naviance, or if the student is struggling with their grades.
Along with helping individual students, counselors are given other jobs (or as Gratrix would say, ‘projects’) that require large portions of their time. Believe it or not, there is a lot more to high school academics than just classes. AP exams, SAT’s, tutoring, scholarships, and internships are just a few of the many responsibilities given to the guidance department.
Gratrix explains, “There are lots of pulls on your time in lots of different directions. Just things you are obliged to do, things you want to do, and just trying to get all the required stuff done in a timely fashion…”
According to Gratrix, counselors try to get as much face-to-face time with students as they can get. Ultimately, their most important job is to “service students” and that can mean a range of different things. Helping a student can mean helping with their course selection, but it can also mean that they are helping a student apply for a job, or even figure out how to continue attending school while they have a concussion.
Guidance counselors have all kinds of obligations and they change on a daily basis. This department is the reason McMahon students are as successful as they can be. Whether that is meeting with a student personally or attending one of their very frequent meetings, there is a lot the guidance counselors do that doesn’t meet the eye.
As Gratrix would say, “You never know what you are going to get.”