“Hi! How can I help you?”

Photo credit: Jason Reinecke (Asst. Principal) West Ottawa High School

Greetings from the West Michigan Lake-town of Holland!

As a first year advisor I had quite a long list of worries when I walked in the door on the first day of school.  The school I serve in is the largest that MSUCAC Advisors are placed at, with a student body of just about 2,500.  My number of enrolled seniors is currently at 540! While this might sound intimidating I have good reason why these numbers are not on my worry list.

On my first day of school while sitting in my office I witness something that could have been written off as mundane, but I found to be incredibly special. Between the counseling staff and the secretaries at the reception desk just about every student who walked in was greeted by their first name. Can you keep 2,500 names and faces straight?  Can you engage those 2,500 people in meaningful conversations about happenings in their lives? I was absolutely humbled. This one morning is what solidified for me that I have made the right choice of career paths. I want to be somewhere where students are valued and treated as individuals. I want to be a part of the million of moving pieces at West Ottawa that turn and click and grind to produce a Silver Medal earning school (U.S. News and Report) while having nearly 50% of its student body on free and reduced lunch. This morning also became for me a clear indication of the expectations that are set for me at West Ottawa. Our slogan of “Creating College, career, and life ready students” is not taken lightly.  Every member of the staff displays this same dedication to student success. Not just academic success either. I have had numerous emails from teachers directly advocating for a student who they want to make sure doesn’t miss the chance to utilize my services.

I have a lot to learn about being an advisor and mentor for students, but I wouldn’t want to do it anywhere else.


Featured image

Mollie VanOrsdol



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