By Sabrina Bong – At the end of the school year, the intermediate school I work at has a yearbook signing party.
It’s intense, to say the least. Picture over 350 sixth grade students in the gym, all of them clutching yearbooks or signature books, running up to each other and asking for signatures. The noise itself is overwhelming (for those of you who work at a school, yearbook signing is like working in the cafeteria, but times five. My ears were ringing for quite a while after I left!)
For me, it was a new experience being a counselor. The minute I walked into the gym to supervise, I had seven or eight girls flock to me to get their yearbook signed. I felt like a celebrity! I signed my name, posed for “selfies” with some of my students, and told them all that I was looking forward to seeing them next year.
One student in particular stood out to me though. He was a part of the lunch group that I held every Tuesday. He is an incredibly sweet student, who always made sure to say hello to me in the halls. Once he realized that I liked the minions from “Despicable Me,” our friendship was cemented.
On that particular yearbook day, I asked if he had gotten a yearbook. He said no, that he didn’t see the point in it, and that he wasn’t going to go to the signing party because he thought it was dumb.
“I see,” I said, after he told me this. “Well, how about you still come to see me?”
He readily agreed to this. Knowing that he had not gotten a yearbook, I wrote him a little note on stationery, telling him to have a great summer and that I looked forward to seeing him next year. I drew a minion on the envelope and gave it to him at the party. He was really thrilled!
While checking my work email today, I saw that my student had emailed me. He said that he hoped I was having a good summer, and that his was going okay so far. He talked about the trips he had taken, as well as the time he had spent with his younger brothers and sister.
“I tell my brothers what we talked about at lunch,” he wrote to me. “About how you told me that as long as you are confident in yourself, then no one else’s opinions matter. They are having a hard time right now with some people making fun of them in the neighborhood. Some bigger kids told them that they look funny, or dress funny, and now they don’t want to do anything outside because they are afraid of what the other kids will say to them. But I told them that they are worth just as much as everyone else. That’s what you told me, remember?”
He closed his email by saying he was excited to see me next year, and that he was going to stop by my office first thing on our first day back.
For me, this was such a gratifying moment, knowing that the counseling relationship extends beyond the school year. I’m curious to see if any other student notes come my way! If not, I am excited to see my kids once summer comes to a close.