#ThrowbackThursday: Happy 15th Educator Anniversary to Me!

2015 marks my 15th year as an educator: seven years as a high school English teacher and the last 8 years as a high school counselor at my alma mater. It's never a boring day as a educator, each day brings its unique challenges and surprises.

One of the not-so-glamorous parts of my job as a school counselor is breaking the news to students and parents that they have not met the requirements for graduation/Therefore, these students are considered a " Non-Grad" which makes them ineligible to participate in the graduation ceremony and receive their diploma. I always have about 5 of my 100 seniors who end up as non-grads: they failed one too many classes or didn't pass the California High School Exit Exam. After several letters and phone calls home and numerous one-on-one meetings with the student regarding their credits, the "non-grad" message at the end of the school year is still a surprise for many students and parents. Some parents are mad and I become the target of their frustrations, some are understanding and realize the shortcomings of their child is the reason for their non-grad status. Either way, students and parents are rest assured they have summer school and the fall semester through our alternative programs to complete their requirements and still graduate by the end of the calendar year.

Every year also brings lots of celebrations at the closing of the school year. I've been honored again to participate in the San Diego FilGrad, honoring outstanding graduating Filipino students. Being able to congratulate each of the graduates for the hardwork and impressive accomplishments is a wonderful feeling. The keynote speaker, city council member, Todd Gloria, whose father was a member Filipino Navy, shared his words of encouragement for the graduates to follow their passions. The event was held a the special event suite at the San Diego downtown library. The views were awesome!

With Ms. Stephanie, Valedictorian of Sweetwater High 

Awarding each student with a graduation stole to wear at their respective graduations

Our own graduation ceremony at Sweetwater High School brings with it a sigh of relief every year. I like to look back and recap the accomplishments I've made in my career. People who know me well know I am always busy with a new project and juggling a dozen tasks at the same time. This past year, I co-chaired the SUHSD Counselor Standards committee which was able to lower counselor caseload from 400 to 350 for the upcoming year - this is something that has not happened in 8 years. I also initiated the Red Devil Way award to recognize outstanding students each week. I also am proud of our monthly College and Career Awareness Days which brings college representatives and career experts to meet with our students every month. None of my success at work would not be possible without the awesome team of school counselors and support staff I work with everyday. They are an amazing group of people are are truly my work family.

Congrats to the Class of 2015! Cheers to 15 more years as a educator!