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The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School


The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School


The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School


Celebrating Counselors with a Week of Cheer

Students and staff celebrated National School Counseling Week from Feb. 5-9 with notes of appreciation and food to celebrate.
Melissa Waas
In the days leading up to National School Counseling Week, students and teachers wrote notes demonstrating their appreciation to the counselors, which were compiled onto a large banner.

From Feb. 5 to 9, students and staff at Rock Ridge celebrated National School Counseling Week. Students displayed their appreciation for counselors by writing notes of gratitude, while faculty and staff treated counselors with cookies and lunch. School counselors go above and beyond to care for students by helping with everything from figuring out balanced schedules for upcoming school years to supporting and comforting students in times of stress and anxiety. National School Counseling Week is celebrated every year for this reason: to appreciate dedicated, hard-working, and caring school counselors and everything they do to keep a school together. 

Counselor Whitney Leach poses for a picture. After three years of counseling, Leach’s favorite part of the job is meeting students who always bring something new to her day. (Photo Courtesy of Whitney Leach)

Counselor and PEER advisor Whitney Leach joined the counseling team three years ago after having worked in the admissions office at Christopher Newport University (CNU). Because her work at CNU involved working closely with school counselors and high school seniors, she quickly realized working with students was something she was passionate about. “Coming into it, I was like ‘I got this, I finally know what I’m gonna do,’” Leach said. This confidence quickly dwindled as she got to experience the different challenges of this job. “This year it was like ‘Here are some new problems you’ve never seen before.’ You never know what’s going to walk through your door,” Leach said. “There’s the scheduled stuff and then there’s the ‘hmm, who knows what’s going to walk on in and bring something new to your day.’”

Despite the unpredictable nature of the counseling job, Leach loves to work with her students and get to know them. “My favorite part [of my job] is the students,” Leach said. “They’re the reason why I keep doing what I do. I enjoy getting to work with all different sorts of kids every day.”

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Junior Nishitha Kancharla appreciates how connection-seeking counselors are. “[Leach] always has a smile on her face,” Kancharla said. “Their role in schools is to be a kind human being and approachable. They do a really good job of holding up those positions. I like how they build connections with their students.” 

Counselors are there to assist students with making choices for their high school and future careers, but part of their job is also to welcome students who are struggling and create safe spaces for them to express what they are going through. Though it may be scary to take the first step to open up and approach them, counselors are always there to guide students through what they are facing and offer a helping hand. 

Senior Umaima Azam loves to catch up with the counselors. “They [don’t just talk] about school,” Azam said. “They are okay with talking about personal things and they share about their own lives too, which I like. I love them a lot.” 

Azam has experienced her fair share of experiences in the counseling department: from talking to counselor Jeniffer Domingues about writing poetry to hearing school psychologist Dallas Swirchak rave about Taylor Swift, and sharing stressful situations with social worker Kim-An Tran. 

She believes that counselors are easy to approach and talk to, no matter what one may be going through. “If you ever need anything, there’s nothing to be scared of, they are really nice and they are super easy to talk to,” Azam said. “Mrs. Domingues is the sweetest and just listens to you. She never judges you [for] what you are saying or anything like that.”

To celebrate the counselors during National School Counseling Week, they were given free lunches and desserts. Former Rock Ridge counselor, now Stone Bridge High School counseling director, Amrita Sethi, even sent in Crumbl cookies as a ‘thank you’ to her former colleagues.

The counseling staff also took the time to appreciate each other during this week. “We have a really good staff and some really experienced people, too,” Leach said. “When I have challenges, I know there are people I can go to to get help and ask ‘how should we deal with this?’ and figure it out. While it’s challenging we got people there to support us and get through it all.”

Overall, National School Counseling Week emphasized counselors’ efforts to ensure the well-being of students by continuously mediating mental health concerns and going above and beyond to provide help where it is needed.

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About the Contributors
Melissa Waas
Melissa Waas, Video Editor
Melissa Waas is a junior who is the Video Editor for The Blaze. Waas has a place in her heart for making films with her two sisters, who also love to make craft and movie projects.  Originally from France, Waas moved in 8th grade, and she loves being part of the Rock Ridge community, where she is also involved in PEER and is one of the WINGS mentors.
Aarohi Motwani
Aarohi Motwani, Editor In Chief
Aarohi Motwani is a senior and an Editor in Chief for The Blaze. This is her third year on staff, and she loves to take pictures and interview people in the student body. In her free time, she enjoys reading, listening to music on her roof, and watching movies with her friends.

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