Senior profile: Kim Sweesy

For Kim Sweesy, being the senior guidance counselor allows her to provide a place for students in need. She forms close-knit relationships with seniors such as Brendan Bailey and helps them achieve personal victories she can later celebrate with them as she watches them grow and develop as people. For Brendan in specific, her guidance helped him break out of his shell as a freshman to evolve into the charismatic person he is today.

“The reason I’m counseling today is because I want kids to have somebody to talk to,” Sweesy said. “When I was in high school, there wasn’t anybody for anybody to go to and that has pretty much driven me to this position.”

Being able to provide students with a place to talk has also given Sweesy direction as the senior counselor. Seeing her seniors grow and develop has been one of the most rewarding parts of her job, Sweesy said. In her eyes, that growth defines the Class of 2015 and makes them unique.

“It’s just the phases of life,” Sweesy said. “What was important as a freshman is no longer as important as a senior. It’s just prioritizing what’s important. They get it, they get life more. I would say in working with kids, in general, is that where they start out as freshmen, the things that they think are problems as freshmen. By the time that they’re seniors, those problems aren’t problems anymore.”

The students themselves have definitely seen that growth in themselves that Sweesy notices throughout the year. Brendan Bailey, senior, remembers his butterfly-change socially from freshman to senior year.

“Freshman year I was a nobody, I did not talk to anybody,” Brendan said. “I just showed up, came to my classes, left and [Sweesy] just helped get me out of my shell. I’m completely different now. She definitely helped me grow into a young adult.”

Sweesy remembers the times her position has aided students and helped them through particularly tough times in their lives.

“A lot of my successes [with the seniors] are more private,” Sweesy said. “They’re big successes, but they’re more on a personal, private level. That’s really what I love about this job, the fact that things go on in this office that are as big as [the football field], as far as the sports, as far as the orchestra. But, it’s personal growth, it’s personal revelation. When the kids get it and they’re growing and they overcome something and we can celebrate that together, that’s the cool part.”

Brendan feels high school just would not have been the same without the guidance department and Sweesy. He spoke of the importance of the department when it came to college planning and life advice.

When giving advice, Sweesy feels she most commonly tells seniors everything that seems troublesome now will work out in the end. In 15 years, she theorizes seniors will look back at their old problems and realize there was always a lesson to be learned.

“The bigger the problem is, a lot of the times, the more you’re going to learn from it in life,” Sweesy said. “Often those are the biggest blessings and the biggest things that you learn from. If you did not experience those things in life, then you would not grow.”