The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

The unrecognized superheroes at NC

Shannon Kamau
The NC counselors put forth a lot of effort to ensure that every student feels cared for, whether that means providing them with academic help or simply conversing as friends. Concerns about the conversations they share with the counselors becoming widely known might arise among students. Because of the confidentiality that NC counselors uphold, students will always maintain a support system with NC counselors.

As students enter the world of high school and work toward their futures, they will look for a helping hand to guide them throughout their journey. Each counselor at NC works with over 450 students whom they provide academic, social, emotional and mental resources for.  Austin Cannon, Taylor Castellano, Dr. Linda Shealy, Leza Aldridge, Kaylyn Brooks and Brie Perozzi hold the title of the unrecognized superheroes at NC.

“I feel like as a school counselor I’m totally invested in supporting my students emotionally and mentally and to make sure students are supported. As well as building those relationships with the students, interacting with them and trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives after high school,” Brooks said.

NC counselors work relentlessly to establish themselves as trustworthy sources for students to discuss any emotional or mental stressors that can potentially harm the students. NC counselors provide students with an open yet private space to talk.

“So our priority is confidentiality and what that means is what we talk about with a student stays between us and the student unless it involves them harming themselves or they know somebody else wants to harm themselves. Only in those instances would we have to bring other adults to support us. Other than that whatever is said in our office stays in our office,” Brooks said.

Students’ talks with NC’s counselors could range much beyond the students’ difficulties. If students encounter issues at school with their social life or disagreements with their peers, the counselors at NC will certainly assist students in working through their issues and finding the best solutions. Whether students wish to share their thoughts about their achievements, concerns or simply their day-to-day experiences, counselors listen non-judgmentally, offer advice and resources and provide opportunities for students to express themselves freely. Not only do NC counselors help students in unpleasant situations, but they also serve as trusted adults who support students in all the activities students do.NC counselors can offer the motivation students need to continue their athletic endeavors or deepen extra-curricular involvement by joining a club.

NC’s counselors also serve as people students can talk to about future plans such as life after high school. Seniors may feel frustrated as their graduation date approaches and they feel unsure of their plans for life beyond high school. Students can reach out to their counselor and discuss possible career choices and pathways that pique their interest. Juniors can also talk with their counselors about maintaining the graduation requirements and taking classes that will help them walk the stage.

One of the NC’s counselors’ main objectives involves ensuring that every student receives a listening ear. The simple fact that each student receives a counselor assigned to them by last name does not stop students from talking to anyone with whom they feel at ease talking to. A student should feel free to talk to any individual without feeling judged.

“I would say I benefit the students I counsel by just providing an open space where they can talk, they can share,  they can feel without being judged. Everybody has a story, so I’m not one to judge anyone about whatever their story is or whatever has happened. But I want them to find someone they trust even if I’m not that person. I want them to find that person,” Aldridge said.

In extreme cases, students may experience stress from sports, school and other stressors that may lead students to harboring thoughts of hurting themselves. Prioritizing student well-being and safety, NC counselors take numerous steps to ensure that they follow the policies and procedures established for these situations. NC’s counselors work alongside students and provide assistance to solve situations. Even when situations of self-harm occur, confidentiality remains with the student, the counselor and other helping factors in the crisis team.

“ It’s a very set-in-stone protocol where we always talk to and support the student right away and that is the main thing. Making sure the student is safe and then there is a whole protocol of speaking with parents and community help. But the first thing is just talking to the student and making sure they are safe,”  Interim NC counselor Kennesaw Mountain High School retired counselor Jackie Brown said.

The counselors at NC work magic every day to ensure that students remain well-equipped and feel comfortable during the student’s four years. NC’s counselors will always listen regardless of whether kids need help with anything academic, social, emotional or simply for a genuine conversation.

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About the Contributor
Shannon Kamau
Shannon Kamau, Reporter
Shannon Kamau, a junior at North Cobb, enjoys reading romance novels and spending time with her younger siblings. Kamau joined The Chant to write about topics she loves such as her favorite books and musicians and student-athletes who deserve acknowledgment. When Kamau is not at school, she can be found listening to Giveon or hanging out with her friends. Kamau hopes to attend Emory University to pursue nursing. 

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