The Public School System declared last Friday the week of Feb. 5 to 9 as “National Counselor’s Week.”
Marjorie Quinto, the Board of Education’s 2018 Counselor of the Year, was joined at the proclamation signing last Friday at Hopwood Middle School by board chair Marylou Ada, Education Commissioner Glen Muña, board members Herman Guerrero, associate commissioner Yvonne R. Pangelinan, and Hopwood Middle School principal Rizalina M. Liwag.
“This is one way to show our appreciation to all the counselors for all the awesome job that they do. It’s a very hard and a tasking job to take care of 10,000 children. They mentor, nurture them, and they also make sure that everything is okay,” Ada said.
“It is especially challenging now because some students are in a state of crisis—bullying and peer pressure are prevalent among students. The school counselors are the ones handling those things and make sure the kids take on a positive career path, make the child feel safe, and teach them how to get along with other children,” Ada added.
Pangelinan said that counselors are the hearts of schools. “They help to chart path for each of the students and address so many issues from emotional to social, academics, and developmental needs of our students.”
“Counselors Week also helps build awareness in the community of the role of school counselors. A long time ago, maybe, your school counselor helped you with your SAT scores, helped you find a college, called your mom when you were sick, passed out hygiene [tips]. The role of a school counselor today has changed dramatically, addressing what happens outside the school, in the community, in the student’s own family, and in the world,” she added.
Quinto is also thankful for the recognition that many counselors like her will experience during the week.
“This is very important not just to me but to all the counselors here in the CNMI. We work with the children as soon as they clock in the morning, they are with us with you all the way even when the students are at home already,” she said.
“This year will also be different because almost every year, we have professional development activity outside of our school where we are taken away from our schools. This year, PSS decided that we will stay in our respective schools so we can stay with the students that we work with, including the teachers and administrative staff,” she added.
According to Ada, the week will be filled with various activities.
“Every school will have their own plans because every school will show appreciation to their counselors. This is a big week for school counselors, where they will be thanked and appreciated, not only by the students but also by the parents, co-teachers, and other school administrative staff,” she said.
“The counselors are also going on a retreat for a day where they will be with other counselors to discuss among themselves how are they going to improve themselves and help each other on pressing issues as far as students are concerned, so that they can be all on the same page on how to deal with them. With our counselors, nothing is impossible to conquer,” she added.