The counselors and the social worker at the Owatonna High School are important people that take care of the students and staff. Their role is to make everyone feel like they are in a positive environment. The OHS has four counselors and one social worker. Their many duties are academic planning, helping students be career and college ready, personal and social issues academic support.
At OHS, the social worker is Mrs. Nancy Williams. She is tasked with the important job of aiding with students with social and emotional issues. Another area of her work includes assisting a number of OHS families. She also supports the husky pantry which gives food to students at the OHS that are in need.
The counselors consist of Ms. Margo McKay, Mrs. Tami Langlois, Ms. Brynn McConnell and Mrs. Vicki Berdan supported by Mrs. Roxi Stewart. They work in three different domains, and the first of these is academic planning. Their job is to help students choose classes at their skill level and ensure students are on course to graduate. The next area of their work is to help students with college and career planning. The counselors help with college applications, scholarship applications and letters of recommendation . Their next work is personal and social. They work along with Mrs. Williams by helping students with mental health issues, friendship problems, handling students feelings regarding their divorces and substance abuse. The counselors have been working with people dealing with these issues more often compared to previous years.
Their focus has been on working with students who were failing a class at the end of the semester, making sure everyone is on track with their credits for graduation, schedule changes for this new semester and PSEO schedules for students who want to take college classes at OHS or Riverland. Jacob Dub said, “It’s a great way to earn college credit and learn how much effort college classes take, plus they are free.” For those who pursue these opportunities, the counselors play a large role in making them happen.
Another thing they offer is academic support sessions. Ms. McConnell said, “We do a lot of stress relief and anxiety coping skills and things like that in academic support.” The sessions they offer are stress management, study skills, organizational skills, yoga, ACT prep and groups for depression and anxiety. These sessions help many students who made need to learn these certain sets of skills, and in the meantime it can be very enjoyable. Jenna Zeman said, “Yoga helps me end my week on a positive note and relax not only my body, but my mind also. It helps me stay calm and not let stress get to me.” If students take advantage of the sessions the counselors offer they can gain lots in return.
The counselors visit with many students every day and every week. Mrs. McKay said, “That’s the nice thing and why I think we all really love and appreciate our jobs is that it’s never ever the same day to day, even if you try to plan something it’s always different, it’s just fun. Some days are very challenging, some are very rewarding and some are both.” Even though the counselors are very busy, they are still very positive and are doing everything they can to help our school. To set up an appointment with a counselor go to the career center and talk to Ms. Roxi Stewart.