BLHS’s Counseling Staff Goes Above And Beyond

BLHS%27s+Counseling+Staff+Goes+Above+And+Beyond

Written by: Riley Wilson, Reporter

High school is the final transition into adulthood as students begin separating from their parents and becoming more independent. Students explore and define who they are and what they plan on spending their lives doing. Through this, they make decisions that can alter the rest of their lives. Though many teachers are willing to help, the work of counselors aligns with and focuses on the school’s mission to support academic achievement for their postsecondary goals.

Helping students with schedules and career-planning is one thing, but the counselors at Basehor are always making sure they are student-focused and taking it one step further.

 “That’s one of the things that I love about Basehor is that everything we do, I feel like, is truly about what’s best for the kids. Especially when I think of academic planning. We’re so flexible and willing to do whatever is going to be best for people. It’s not, these are the classes we have and this is what you have to do”, said counselor Stephanie Billet.

The counseling staff comes from a genuine place of wanting to help students. They are passionate about their jobs and education. Their main goal is to help kids achieve theirs.

“The most important part is being that encouragement and advocate for kids. They don’t always feel like they have a voice. Sometimes school is the safest place for students. So I would say it’s important to be present and available. It’s important to be able to bend over backwards for a kid and help them because sometimes that’s all the love they get”, said counselor Vicky Herbster.

The counselors mostly work on enrollment, testing, career-planning and schedules, but they wear many hats and work on a great number of random jobs. Many students feel comfortable coming to them with any questions they may have from Skyward logins to talking about feelings of depression or anxiety. 

“It is never the same day. It’s always random. Whatever walks through the door I handle… So it’s just whatever I can do to support students’ social-emotional health”, said social worker Kathryn Harter, who helps with the social-emotional health of students. That’s not to say that their job is easy. In fact, it’s the opposite.

“The emotional heaviness that sometimes goes with counseling can be hard. There’s a lot of things that students experience that you don’t wish upon anybody. That can take an emotional toll”, said Billet. 

Fortunately, after two years of Harter being on the staff, she has helped with this aspect. Sometimes people feel uncomfortable with the title ‘social worker’ as it comes with a certain stigma attached to it. Harter works to battle this stigma and show students that they should feel comfortable coming to talk to her about anything. She even has different groups that meet together to talk about different problems they’re facing. When she notices that students she meets with individually are facing the same issues, she brings a group together to discuss it and help. One group she has right now is with girls working on creating healthy relationships.

This year, with COVID-19 and the ever-changing world of the 21st century, the counselors have become more focused on the morale of students. 

“It feels weird and off this year. That has us concerned and so I feel like we’re having to balance the safety piece between what’s socially and emotionally best for kids,” said Herbster.

“I love Basehor. I love all the kids here and I wish anyone would come in and see me any time they want to”, said Harter. Whatever the problem may be, the counseling staff would be happy to help. Walking into the small, inviting counselor’s office feels like a safe space in the school. There’s no judgement and a willingness to help in any way possible.