OC Counselors create connections


Photo by Ryan Temple

The counseling doors stand tall and welcoming for any student in need of help.

Ryan Temple, Online Editor

With such a massive population, OHS needs more than just a little assistance in helping the students when they need it. Luckily, there are six well equipped counselors up for the job.

However, they do far more than just the semiannual meetings with students in the library. Saroj Jagernauth, counseling department chair, knows this firsthand.

“Meeting with our students is probably 20 percent of what we do,” Jagernauth said. “I coordinate the AP program, oversee the junior parent evening and I attend meetings on a regular basis to revise and review our academic planning guide.”

While Jagernauth has a lot on her plate, those are not even half of the responsibilities that come with her job. Luckily, she is well suited for it.

“My entire career has been focused on empowering students to be their best selves,” Jagernauth said.

Empowering students and helping them through every challenge is a natural part being a counselor. Which is exactly why Jennifer Miller, counselor, is drawn to it.

“I like helping people,” Miller said. Miller has enjoyed helping others her entire life which is why she decided to become a counselor.

Kathleen Giacini, counselor, was drawn to the job for a slightly more personal reason.

“When I was in high school, I didn’t feel like I understood what I should think about in finding a job,” Giacini said. “I changed jobs a lot after I graduated from college and I didn’t really have a good direction, so that, more than anything drew me to the counseling aspect of the school.”

The counseling department may crumble without a strong foundation, but fortunately all three previously mentioned counselors, as well as Jenny Cramer, Debbie Harmonson and Chris Harmonson work closely with each other.

“We always meet and talk about any of the things that were doing so that we can all get input from each other,” Giacini said. “We just have a really good relationship between all six of us.”

While it is imperative for the counselors to work well together, the connections they form with the students are what truly motivates them.

“It is one of the best things that we do,” Jagernauth said. “Making them feel comfortable that we’re here for them, not only with problems, but just about anything, then they are able to share that with us so we are able to guide them purposefully.”

Unfortunately, being a counselor has it’s struggles as well.

Leaving the job at school can be the most difficult part of the job, Miller said. Miller says she often thinks about the students’ problems outside of school but knows that she has to let it go eventually.

Jagernauth is aware that the counselors are not equipped for all issues, but says they are able to use community resources as well as the hope zone resources on the counseling department website.
Regardless of any challenge, Jagernauth cannot help but love what she does.

“The best part is working with our students one on one,” Jagernauth said. “That trumps everything.”