Being a teenager in our society and culture is complex - much more so than when I was growing up. Managing social media, processing lots of information at an accelerated pace, and hearing and analyzing more diverse and, often times, conflicting opinions just about every topic you can imagine, our young people need the support of family, friends, and trusted school teachers, coaches, and counselors. We help our students to understand that it is okay to be a kid, to make mistakes, to have feelings, and to change as they grow and come to know themselves.
We know that every child is unique and we have students at different levels of academic ability and social and emotional development, with varied skills, interests, and personal histories. Our learning specialist, Mrs. Joyce Campion, works with students with different learning styles, often to enhance the talents and tools they use for learning. Mrs. Campion often says, “There is nothing more exciting than to see students who once struggled with keeping up with required work in courses, gradually discover personal pathways to successfully manage their assignments, and surprise themselves at what they could achieve.”
I like to think that I, and the other counselors, can help provide a safe, accepting space for students to be themselves, a space where gentle, patient and attentive professionals walk along side our students - especially when they approach issues which are challenging and may be difficult to confront.
I can say that it is nothing less than walking on holy ground when students enter the office with an issue only to leave relieved and unburdened, armed with honesty and insight, knowing they were in the presence of someone who listened, one who truly cares. Saint Norbert, our patron saint, worked compassionately for peace and concord. That is what I hope to provide every day as a priest and counselor to our student and families.
Father John Zagarella, O.Praem.
Director of Guidance