Counselors are overworked and underappreciated


Jiayi Li

Counselor Victoria Bice works on sending emails during the school day.

Jiayi Li, Page Editor

We’ve heard all about school staff members being underpaid, but specifically, I feel guidance counselors do way too much work for how much they’re paid. Not only do they help students with schedule changes, but they also help with dealing with mental health, life after high school and developing social and academic skills. There are many members of the counseling staff, but with over 2,000 students in Harrisonburg High School, the workload can be overwhelming.

In Harrisonburg High School’s counseling staff, they have our director, Danielle Brino, our assistant director, Anda Weaver, our counselors, Cedrice Kennedy, Savanna Lester, Christina Norment, Sara Sweetman, Sierra Swisher, our career coach, Rachel Linden, our mental health and student assistant counselor, Dr. Lora Cantwell, our student support specialist, Nicole Yoder, and our VCAC College Advisor, Anna Du. 

These supportive staff members are able to provide them with professional private counseling, where they help take care of mental health issues and plan out a healthy method to cope. They treat students with respect as they assist them with making big decisions regarding their lives and futures. Counselors at HHS find the potential within students and help develop it so that they can find things they are passionate about. 

Our counselors schedules aren’t steady because they need to be able to drop what they’re doing and help students when they need help handling an emergency, whether they are having a bad day mentally, with relationships or with school.  They make sure students can live safely by making sure their school work or lives at home is not harming their mental and physical health. In this way, they may be negatively impacting their own mental health. They could stretch themselves too thin by taking care of so many high school students. However, even after doing so much to care for them, guidance and school counselors only make a salary from $32,890 to $66,100. In comparison, the national average salary for Mcdonald’s workers is $33,840.

Counselors aren’t just here to make schedule changes. They also spent a lot of time guiding them through our issues and concerns. Even though they put so much time and effort into helping them, they don’t get enough from what they deserve. So next time you see a counselor, take a few seconds to say hi and show your appreciation for their hard work.