From the Archives: More than just a counselor

Cole Schreck, Opinion Editor

On January 6, 1978, the Bellevue West newspaper — then called the West Wind — published an anonymous letter to the editor in their seventh volume. Titled “Counseling system insensitive, student wants a big buddy,” this writer said that counselors are supposed to be a student’s “buddy,” but that was not the case at the time. 

Now, 45 years later, the counseling department has changed quite a bit.

Principal Kevin Rohlfs said that counseling used to be more centered around the academic side of school. Overseeing student schedules and helping students graduate were the most prevalent jobs of counselors in the past, while the mental health aspect of the job was “a much lower level than what we’re seeing now.”

While Rohlfs says that mental health was still part of a counselor’s job, the unnamed author of the aforementioned letter said that “very few people know their counselors.” This leaves me wondering: how could you talk to someone about your most personal issues when you don’t even know who they are in the first place?

Fortunately, the counseling department has changed over the years. Counselor Molly Moore said that over the years, the school has brought social workers onto the staff and even a licensed mental health therapist. 

“And then we have a mental health therapist that…works like any outside therapist,” Moore said.  “They work with your insurance and that kind of thing.” 

Today, the counseling department focuses on both academic and mental health, but more so on mental health than in the past. This is an improvement from the more academically centered counseling department of bygone years.

Now that brings up the question: is the counseling department better than it used to be that answer is a resounding yes. 

Counselors now are more able to connect with their students since they can better understand their students, with this recent surge in mental health awareness. Students are also starting to visit the counselor more and more and amenities like the Take 5 room have been added.

Students for decades have wanted a sort of buddy at school, and I am proud to say with confidence that our counselors are finally able to fulfill that role.