Celebrating Our Counselors During National School Counseling Week


Lilian Chong, Staff Writer

In honor of its hard-working counselors, Arcadia Unified School District celebrated National School Counseling Week. With distance learning in place, the Arcadia counselors have worked diligently throughout the past summer and semesters to ensure a safe, welcoming environment for students in the 2020-2021 virtual school year. Despite challenges students may encounter with academics or social life, the Arcadia High School counseling team offers a plethora of student resources ranging from college to mental health guidance.

National School Counseling Week, which took place from Feb. 1 to 5, aims to recognize school counselors for their tremendous effort in guiding students to achieve school success, plan for careers, and assist in mental health. Throughout social media, school districts honor their counselors by posting the hashtags #NSCW21 and #NationalSchoolCounselorWeek. Typically, the appreciation week involves in-person activities and events; however, given the virtual setting, AUSD produced a recognition video, applauding and appreciating its diligent counselors.

The AHS counseling team is comprised of different centers and offices working collectively to create accessible virtual resources for students to utilize. Student resources, contact info, counseling newsletters, and many more are all accessible through the AHS counseling website.

Despite the transition from in-person to virtual counseling, the counseling office still offers Counselor of the Day office hours. Different counselors will be available throughout specific days of the week. To make an appointment, you can book a time through this Google Calendar link.

In times of difficulty and uncertainty, AHS Wellness Center counselor, Dr. Deja Anderson, offers her support to students in need of assistance and care.

“When working with students my goal is to make sure they are feeling supported and taking care of themselves. I think the biggest hurdle is making sure our students are reaching out and getting the support they need. I enjoy working with students, and helping them during a difficult time is important work to me. It’s important they know they have a space or person who can assist them when times are tough,” she said.

Dr. Anderson illuminates how COVID-19 has challenged her work experience and goals as a wellness counselor.

“With distance learning, I am trying different avenues of delivering information to the students so they know the Wellness Center, as well as myself, are here to help. I feel the biggest impact is making sure students know they can access these services remotely,” she said.

You can access the Wellness Center link here.

Although COVID-19 has impacted her usual duties, AHS counseling secretary Ms. Kristen King has found a silver lining despite this new reality of working remotely.

“Definitely, COVID has impacted me. However, I think most of the changes have been really positive. I’ve been able to work from home with my pup by my side, learn and utilize new technology and take on more responsibilities. I also feel more in contact with my coworkers as well as the administration,” she said.

Mrs. Sharon Sandoval, one of the AHS Class of 2021 counselors, reminisces on vivid memories with the students she has worked with ever since their first day of high school.

“Of course, I have many fond memories of individual conversations! But collectively, I would say that so much has been asked of the Class of 2021, but they have emerged as fighters and survivors. They have had to adapt rapidly to a myriad of changes and have had to sacrifice many rites of passage that other students before them had the privilege to enjoy. The Class of 2021 has had to acquire new skills at break-neck speed. I admire them and am inspired by them,” she said.

With an unprecedented pandemic and daunting AP classes, the Class of 2021’s chaotic high school journey draws near to its ending. Mrs. Sandoval wishes all her soon-to-be graduating seniors the best of luck despite obstacles and challenges.

“To the graduating Class of 2021: To say that this past year has been extremely difficult would be a gross understatement. But I am heartened by your resiliency, ingenuity, and courage. So, whether you feel like you have finally overcome most of the challenges this pandemic has thrown your way, or if you feel like you are still in the throes of it, one day you will look back on this time with a story to tell. Just make sure your story includes these words: ‘But I never gave up. I never lost hope,’” she said.

We are indebted to our diligent counselors and their commitment to every student’s success. Without a phenomenal counseling team, students wouldn’t be able to navigate the resources they need to “survive” high school. AUSD’s students, families, and staff are proud to acknowledge the hard work our counselors do and the dedication they put in ensuring the best for parents and students.


Graphic courtesy of AUSD