National School Counselor Week Feb. 6-10

This week is the annual National School Counselor Week, a time to appreciate the importance of counselors in helping students succeed. This year, the theme is “School Counselors: Helping Students Dream Big.”

Lead Counselor Annette Hanson has been a school counselor since 2007 and this is her third year at McNeil.

“I became a school counselor to help students reach their academic and personal goals,”  Hanson said. “Knowing that it is important to support the student for them to succeed. I get inspiration from knowing that the services school counselors provide can help students and families get [the] support they need.”

Counselor Matthew Oualline began as a teacher, but became interested in becoming a counselor after seeing the services they provide. 

“Working with kids, long term planning, helping with mental health, it just seemed like so much fun,” Oualline said. “After doing it for 20 years, it is fun.”

Oualline’s favorite part of counseling is having individual conferences with students.

“I start meeting with students in ninth grade and get to see their progression for four years and guide them,” Oualline said. “[A student may say] they want to go to UT, and I would say ‘if you do this, this and this, we can get you there.’”

Although these school counselors enjoy their work, some days aren’t as fun as others. 

“Really some days are long, some days are tough, but I think about all the good we do as school counselors,” Oualline said. “[It] helps me keep going, working with the next student, working with the next parent.”

School counselors believe that this week is ideal to have their work recognized.

“It’s really nice to have some time for people to recognize the work we do to support our students,” Hanson said. “Stop by our offices with a smile and just say, ‘thank you.’ That’s all we need and want.”