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The Student News Site of Gretna East High School

The Wingspan

The Student News Site of Gretna East High School

The Wingspan

Counseling duo overcomes obstacles

Hansen, Shostak adapt to being school’s only counselors
Counseling+duo+overcomes+obstacles
Reese Beery

Challenges come in all shapes and sizes, and when two counselors have to manage 750 students by themselves, that can be a big challenge. GEHS counselors, Brandon Shostak and Melissa Hansen have taken on just that. 

The opening of the school has brought change to every single Griffin. However, because they are the only two counselors, Shostak and Hansen’s workload has more than doubled, meaning that they see more students than they are used to since working at Gretna High School. 

And while they have figured out a way to help their students with a variety of things from schedules and grades to emotions and advice, it hasn’t come without discovering some concerns. 

“We’ve got the advantage, that we’ve worked together,” Hansen said,  “we’ve got a pretty good solid system, and we don’t have seniors. The one disadvantage is that when one of us is out or sick, that makes it a little stressful on the other one that’s left behind because then you’re trying to juggle all the things that are coming in on the fly.” 

It is in these moments that being one of two counselors for the school can be a bit overwhelming, according to Hansen. 

“You’re also trying to deal with students who are upset, new student registrations, things like that,” she said. “You’re the one person serving 750 students, and it’s not like we couldn’t have a sub, but there are no counseling subs available.”

To make their jobs easier, Shostak and Hansen have implemented more efficient ways to get information out to students.

Their goal is to make technological changes such as Google Classroom and emails  “more user-friendly than before,” Hansen said. “We did registration online last year, and we’re still going to try and do that again, and this way we can get more accurate numbers the first time around.” 

With a large number of students, the counseling team has to find time to help all of their students, leaving them with a big schedule. They use these moments to reteach themselves why they choose to help kids.

“We have an organization that we, hold to their standards of the School Counseling Association, so it’s kind of a good opportunity for us to reteach ourselves and teach those around us what a really effective school counseling program can look like and what we can do,” Shostak said.  “Compared to maybe what it was 30+ years ago.” 

The change from having four counselors to two has not only affected the staff, but the students as well. Counselors send emails weekly to students about schedules, check-ins and monthly updates happening in school. “Updates come from the counseling team to students regularly, whether that means from emails or on Google Classroom,” sophomore Adelaide Brosh says. “Emails are very helpful, especially when it comes to new updates.”

The communication between students and the counselors has increased compared to last year at GHS. There are a number of emails sent out to students each week with follow-ups and information. Most students have adapted to checking their emails more often and being more active on Google Classroom.    

“The counselors helped me and fellow students with scheduling changes using the Google Classroom that they had set up,” sophomore Lilianna Sherfield said. “It has been so helpful keeping students updated on everything.”

Despite the increase in student numbers, the counselors continue to help students throughout their school year by letting every Griffin know that they are there for them.

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About the Contributor
Reese Beery, Reporter
Reese Beery is a sophomore in her first year on the journalism staff. She serves as a staff reporter. She enjoys many aspects of journalism including sports writing and photography. From capturing memories with a camera to halftime football reports, she gives it her all. She joined the journalism program because of her lifelong passion for writing and creativity. If she’s not working you can find her spending time with family, friends or attending sporting events, even if it’s just her little brother’s baseball games.
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