The T.C. Roberson Counseling office was bustling the day we met Melanie Parham. The 16-year veteran counselor had back-to-back appointments Thursday afternoon.
“I like that my job is different every day, I love the kids, I love getting to work with them and brainstorm and problem solve. It's always a different day, and I never get bored,” she says.
Most of her students this time of year need help making decisions about college or choosing the right classes for their last semester of high school.
“By and large, we have an open door policy where kids can come in as needed. They can come in if they are worried about something. And, they know they can come in if they are having problems with their college application or getting signed up for financial aid.”
There is plenty of variety in the day of a high school counselor. The responsibilities range from completing paperwork to helping a student cope with a serious personal or academic situation.
Director of Student Services, David Thompson, says school counselors are essential to the overall success of our students. “Through the efforts of school counselors, students learn social skills to employ empathy, compassion, and problem-solving. School counselors also support students' development in skills necessary for academic success, such as, paying attention, organization, and managing time,” he says.
Parham says counselors have to be willing to be selfless as they work with teenagers going through many ups and downs because the growing-up process can be difficult. “[Counselors] have to be willing to work really hard for their kids,” she says.
She always has her door- and heart- open to help her students.
“We want them to know they can always come to us if they are worried about something or have a question. That’s our motto: ‘You are Always Welcome Here’.”
As we wrap-up National School Counselor Week, we say thank you to all of the dedicated members of the Buncombe County Schools counseling program! Please know that what you do every day makes a difference in the lives of our students!