Students appreciate counselors' advice, help

Posted: Friday, March 04, 2005

The Juneau-Douglas High School counselors celebrated Counselor Appreciation Week last month by offering students prizes for short writings on the topic.

Counselor Jimmy McConnell has helped senior Vera Lumbab figure out what credits she needed and which courses will help her get into college.

Counselor Frank Coenraad helped Lumbab find a correspondence program that offered a civics class she wanted.

Lumbab plans to study nursing at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

"I always knew what to do," she said in an interview. "I just needed help on what I was missing to get there."

Lumbab is busy with classes, cheerleading and part-time work.

"Whenever I'm stressed with my schedule, like with activities, I go to Ms. McConnell and she helps me figure out what's more important."

In her short essay, Lumbab wrote of McConnell: "She organizes my schedule and helps me stay on top of my goals."

Gretchen Dierking, a junior, said her counselor helped her arrange to get ahead in credits before she goes on a foreign exchange next fall.

Counselors "have made me feel more comfortable with using the school's resources for the information I need to be successful at JDHS," she wrote.

Eric Choquette, a sophomore, said counselor Kathy McCasland is easy to deal with and open-minded, "and into what I have to say, and I think that's really important."

McCasland helped Choquette switch between semesters to another Spanish class and drop swimming so his schedule could accommodate a second-semester acting ensemble class he wanted.

"I just had a certain passion for it. It's the most advanced acting class you can take at this high school," Choquette said.

In his essay, Choquette wrote: "It's really not what she has done for me, but how she has made me feel at this school. Every time I see her, for whatever reason necessary, she is always sitting in her office with a lovely, warm smile on her face."

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