WASHINGTON – After decades of celebrating the teacher of the year at the White House,first lady Michelle Obama hosted the School Counselor of the Year Award Ceremony at the White House for the first time Friday.
The event was attended by actor Connie Britton,who played the role of high school counselor Tami Taylor on the television show “Friday Night Lights.” Obama thanked Britton,now starring in “Nashville,” for portraying the role and showing the audience the commitment school counselors have for their students in everyday life.
Notestine said during an interview Thursday that the high school has reached a 90 percent graduation rate and that,in the class of 2014,82 percent of seniors graduated with at least three college credits.
When Obama started to work with Reach Higher initiative,she said noticed the role that school counselors play in the everyday life of high school students. The program aims to make the United States the country with the biggest proportion of college graduates in the world.
“The more I learned about our school counselors,the more I realized that often,America’s school counselors are truly the deciding factor in whether our young people attend college or not,” Obama said.
In his speech at the White House,Notestine urged that schools,especially elementary schools,hire more school counselors.
“Students should have one person to talk to at school … and that someone should be a school counselor,” Notestine said.
Parker is a school counselor for Dumbarton Elementary School in Henrico,Va. She expressed her concerns about waiting to prepare students for college education until middle or high school. She said doing that is “like asking a student to build a house and giving him all the right bricks,but no foundation.”
Pringle has worked for Hoover High School in San Diego for four years. She said that career readiness is also about keeping students’ minds healthy so they can go on the next level. Given the right tools,“They will thrive,then they’ll fly.”
At the White House ceremony Obama said,“Every day,our school counselors help young people become the people they’re meant to be and achieve what they’re meant to achieve,what they were put on this Earth to achieve. And that is truly an awesome responsibility and it’s also a tremendous privilege.”
This story has been updated to correct the misspelling of Cory Notestine’s name.
Reach reporter Alicia Alvarez at [email protected]com or 202-408-1489. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire. Like the Scripps Howard Foundation Wire interns on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.