By Michelle L. Quinn Post-Tribune correspondent February 28, 2013 3:26PM
Highland High School counselors Amy Vezmar (third from left) and Anne Lemon (right) advise students Caitlin Dora (left) and Stephanie Czarnecki on applying for concurrent credit. | Provided photo
School counselors are much more than the people who make students take classes they don’t ever think they’ll use, and the School Town of Highland recently showed the community how.
Highland High School counselors Amy Vezmar and Anne Lemon coordinated the district’s first-time participation in National School Counseling Week, which is sponsored by the American School Counselor Association. The two organized the Feb. 4 through 8 event as a “thank you” to those who support their efforts in helping kids be the best they can be.
Most of the week was educational for many, since many don’t understand exactly what counselors do. Along with steering students toward the end-goal of graduation, counselors also provide counseling, work as advocates for students with special needs and act as mediators between students and teachers.
“Sometimes, a student may not know how to approach a teacher, so we help them,” Lemon said. “Along with the paperwork side, where we perform checks on students’ credits, help obtain scholarships and write letters of recommendation, we’re considered the third corner of the learning triangle.”
Students have surprised the two with how much they use Guidance services; Vezmar credits the department’s website for the boost. It’s the parents, however, to whom they want to show the breadth of their work; she and Lemon have instituted Parents’ Nights covering various topics.
“Those who know about us are grateful for what we do,” said Lemon, who’s in her fourth year with the school town.
Vezmar, who’s in her sixth year with the school town, said they, along with their colleagues — counselors Kris Pilewski, with Warren and Merkley Elementary schools; Rachel Jennings, with Southridge and Johnston Elementary schools; Denise Mavity, with Highland Middle School grades 6 and 7; Rose Vis, who handles grade 8 at the middle school and grade 9 at the high school; and guidance coordinator Kelly Gossman — distributed certificates of appreciation, goodie bags and other information throughout the week. The department also has a school psychologist and education diagnostician.
“A lot of people don’t know we have all these people,” Vezmar said. “We have really great resources here.”
All six of Highland’s public schools have met the criteria for and received the Indiana Gold Star School Counseling Award presented by the Indiana Department of Education as well as several other honors for their programs, Vezmar said.