Get to know your counsellors

Get to know your counsellors at Highland Park Senior High School. I interviewed the counsellors about their job, and about themselves.

First, I interviewed Andrea Dickinson, she is the counsellor for students with last names from A to He.

Andrea Dickinson was born on December 1st, the year is unknown as she doesn’t want that information to be let out. Before counseling, she was a teacher. Her parents were educators like she is now. Her father was a principal, and her mother was a teacher. She decided to take a different role in education so she chose counseling. Andrea first started counseling for North St. Paul at John Glenn. Then she started counseling for St. Paul in 1997.

Andrea likes how everyday is different when she’s counseling. Another thing she likes about counseling is that she can actually help students with what they need. Andrea really dislikes the amount of paperwork she has to do. An easy thing for her when counseling is she’s available to help people. But as that can be easy for her, it is really hard for her also because, she isn’t able to help everybody as much as she likes.

People go to Andrea for all kinds of things they need help on. The most common thing people (most likely students) go to her for is to get their schedules changed. People also go to her when they have personal concerns about anything. Andrea Dickinson is really easy to talk to. People also go to her when they want to complain. Though most complaints are about their schedules.

Here are some things about Andrea Dickinson apart from her job. She has one child, a daughter, and she has one puppy. On her free time, she likes to watch The Real House Wives. Her favorite color is black (she thinks her soul is black). “Black, like my soul” is what she replied during the interview.

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Then, I interviewed Jason Schlukebier; he is the counselor for students last names starting with the letters R to Z. Jason decided to be a counselor because he wanted to connect with students at a different level than teachers do. Before counseling, Jason was a teacher at Humboldt Senior High School. Jason not only taught there but he also first started counseling there. For 11 years he has been counseling; it’s his 5th year counseling at Highland Park Senior High.

Jason likes how counseling everyday is different. During the interview, he said counseling is more flexible than teaching. He could have lunch whenever, he can have snacks when he wants, and he can go to the restroom anytime he wants to. Whereas teachers have to wait for passing time to be able to go to the restroom. He likes the freedom of counseling. Though he wants to connect with students on a different level than teachers do, he doesn’t like how he isn’t able to connect with as many students as a teacher. Teaching, he gets to see around 150 students and connect with them, but counseling is a bit harder because, he has to wait for a student to come to him.

Teaching: he was a math teacher for nine years. Jason misses the daily interactions with students when he was teaching. An easy thing for him when counseling is connecting with kids and building relationships with them. Jason finds it frustrating when there isn’t enough staff to help a student for free. An example he used was if a student needs tutoring, they don’t have enough staff to help that kid. Meaning the student will have to pay for a tutor. Jason finds that part about school frustrating.

People mostly go to Jason when they have schedule issues. Students whose last names are from R to Z goes to Jason to talk about wanting to change their schedule. Jason also gets people to come and talk to him about their academic issues. Students (mostly seniors) goes to Jason and talk about college. They ask him for college information. These are the things people usually go to Jason for.

Here are a few things about Jason outside of school. Jason likes the color blue. In the interview, he says that blue brings out his eyes. He has a 10 year old son in fourth grade. During his free time he likes to spend time with his family. He likes to travel, ski, and cook. Jason also enjoys watching and playing soccer.

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The next counselor I interviewed was Michael Biermaier. Michael was born on September 23rd. He is the counselor who works with juniors through the Mentoring Excellence Program (MEP), helping them in post-secondary eduacation planning.

Michael went into counseling because he’s very passionate about helping people with the first step out of high school. The first step out of high school is very important to him, he doesn’t want people to make the wrong choices. Michael has been counseling for 22 years. It’s the 11th year he’s been counseling at Highland Park Senior High. He first started counseling at Como Park Senior High School.

What Michael likes about counseling is meeting different kinds of people. Michael really dislikes the amount of paperwork he is given. An easy thing when counseling for him is relating to people and undertstanding them. A hard thing is balancing the demand of paperwork (counsellors get a lot of paperwork).

The most common thing students go to Michael for is about college. Students who are looking for a college, or need any help with college information, usually goes to Michael. Michael helps them decide where they want to go. Michael also helps them with how and where to apply for college. The thing about college is you have to pay, so Michael helps students with how to pay for college.

Here are a few things about Michael outside of school. His favorite color is purple. He likes purple because of the Vikings. Not only because of Vikings but also because of jelly beans and Jolly Ranchers. Michael has an Italian Greyhound. Her name is Belle and she is really old. During his free time Michael likes to fish. He has a cabin for fishing. Michael also likes to watch movies and sports.image2

The next person I interviewed was Johanna Skaar. Johanna was born on February 9th. Johanna is a counselor mostly for freshman. Johanna has only been counseling for 2 years. She works part time at Capital Hill. She also helps with shadow hosting. The first school she taught at was Best Academy.

Johanna started as a teacher. She really likes building relationships with students, and working one on one with them. At first Johanna considered working for special education. but after looking at the roles, she seemed more suited for counseling. Johanna likes seeing students improve. Especially when a student is going through a hard time and struggling but then they get better and they become more successful.

Johanna, like the other counsellors, dislikes the paperwork she has to do. She also dislikes office work and duties non related to students. Something she finds easy is connecting with students. Though connecting with students can be easy for her, she finds it difficult to help students with problems she can’t control.

The most common thing people go to Johanna for is if they’re having any stress, or if they’re struggling with academics. Students also go to her when they have problems with their social life. She likes helping and connecting with many different students; people usually go to her for those kind of things.

Here are some things about Johanna outside of school. Johanna’s favorite color is pink. She likes pink because of pink tulips, and Valentine’s. Right when she got out of college, she got a Bulldog that is now 10 years old. Johanna has one kid on the way and is due in April. During her free time she likes to relax with her dog. Johanna also enjoys watching TV with her husband watching The Sopranos. Other than relaxing, Johanna likes to walk by river.

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The last counselor I interviewed is Kimberly Esso, she is the counselor for students with the last names Hi to Q.

Kimberly was born on September 28. The reason she decided to go into counseling was because she has always wanted to work in a school and also to work with students. What Kimberly likes about counseling is working with students. Kimberly said in the interview that her job changes every day making each day different.

What Kimberly dislikes about counseling is there’s a lot of busy work to do. Most her time is answering emails, phone calls, and doing paperwork. Kimberly finds it easy working with teachers and students. What she finds hard is learning a new school because every school is different. 

This year is her sixth year counseling. She first started counseling at Open World Learning, also known as OWL. The most common thing people go to her for is college applications. People also go to her when they have class difficulties.

Here are somethings about Kimberly outside of school. Kimberly’s favorite color is blue. She doesn’t know why her favorite color is blue but, she included that blue makes her happy. Kimberly has a daughter who’s 3 1/2 years old. Outside, Kimberly likes biking and walks. She likes to be outside.

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These are all the counselors at Highland Park Senior High that I interviewed. It was difficult to try and interview them all at one time due to their busy schedules. But luckily, I was able to interview them all.

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