Reaching out


Kelley Cochran

“A lot can be managed with taking care of yourself and being unapologetic about it. Start putting yourself first in all the right ways.” -Gina Woodard

Thora Pearson, staff artist

Planted in the commons is a long, winding hallway tightly packed with shut doors illuminated by the glow of fluorescent lights. To KHS students, this is known as the guidance hallway. Beyond these closed doors, students are able to open up and address the problems that travel further than a simple schedule change. With his office sitting in the middle of the hallway, Joe Fisch, grade level counselor, deals with the varying needs of students on a daily basis. His job plays a crucial role in helping students face problems that range from losing a loved one to dealing with issues such as depression and anxiety.

“[We] bring the student down and talk to them about [what they’re going through],” Fisch said. “[We] see how we can support them at school from an academic side but also a social and emotional side.”

Through this process, Fisch along with the other seven counselors, try to ensure that students feel safe. While there are students who may not respond to the help offered from the guidance center, Asha Zein, senior, was thankful of the support after her father’s passing on Sept. 30, 2018.

“I feel like it’s definitely been helpful having support from the school whether that’s teachers, principals or counselors,” Zein said. “Right after everything happened, Mrs. Sweesy and Mrs. Miller came to my house to share their condolences and stayed for a little bit to talk.”

Zein, who is focusing her senior project on grief, said she hopes to share methods of coping will help other students who have also experienced loss. While she understands that no two situations are alike, Zein hopes KHS students can support each other through whatever problem they may be facing.

 “Walking through the halls we almost look past everything, but it’s important to realize that everyone has their own challenges,” Zein said. “Go that extra mile if you see someone sad or upset and ask what you can do to help.”     

According to National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention, over 26 percent of children will experience or witness a traumatic event before the age of 4. With this in mind, Gina Woodard, health teacher, said mental health should be a student’s main priority.

“If you have the assumption that someone is going through a difficult time in someway, you’re probably going to be right” Woodard said. “A lot can be managed with taking care of yourself and being unapologetic about it. Start putting yourself first in all the right ways.”

Woodard believes that while students play a big role in their mental health, it’s still important to reach out and get help if you need it.

“The reality is our counselors are fantastic” Woodard said. “Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know,” “you can’t help who you don’t know is struggling with something.”

As a counselor, Fisch hopes that students who are struggling with something will visit the guidance center. However, if a student doesn’t feel comfortable, Fisch hopes that students will reach out to someone they feel comfortable such as a teacher.

“Teachers are the ones who are with the student for most of they day” Fisch said. “The councilors try to make sure the [teachers] know what’s going on with the student so they can provide support on their own.”