Three Brownwood ISD (BISD) counseling interns will be graduating from Angelo State University (ASU) this May.
Angie Bertrand, Marci Reagan and LeeAnn Stork are members of the Brownwood ISD Counseling and Mental Health Team that recently earned Counselors Reinforcing Excellence for Students in Texas (CREST) Awards from Texas School Counselor Association (TSCA). Bertrand is an intern school counselor at Brownwood Middle School, Reagan interns at Woodland Heights Elementary and East Elementary, and Stork interns at Northwest Elementary and Coggin Intermediate. They are part of the first cohort to graduate under the Rural West Texas Mental Health Educational Learning Partnership (HELP), a grant-funded collaboration between ASU and Texas Education Service Center (ESC) Region 15 to increase the number of public-school counselors employed in rural school districts within the region.
A celebration honoring the graduating interns was held in the Woodland Heights Elementary library on May 12. Representatives from ESC 15 joined BISD Superintendents and several other staff as graduation stoles and certificates were presented to Reagan, Stork, and Bertrand. Kimber Bennett, the Woodland Heights Counselor who helped facilitate the program at BISD, addressed the interns, speaking on the huge impact the counselors have had on students in the district, especially considering they entered the field during the time of COVID. “You jumped in. You took the initiative and you asked questions. Nowhere else were there three better interns. I thank you,” said Bennett. “1,900 students are the lives that you touched on four campuses through classroom guidance, individual counseling, small group parent conferences, and teacher consults,” Bennett continued. “You took their chaos, you calmed the storm, you identified their strengths and helped them recognize their weaknesses.”
Bennett drilled down to highlight the huge effect these counselors have already had on the lives of students. “You might wonder if you make a difference,” said Bennett. “The third grader who last year was in second grade and reading at a Pre-K level, this morning reads at a seventh-grade level. He found out he’s smart and he’s capable. The seventh-grade student that has experienced abuse unimaginable now has resources, support, and help and is growing in all areas through your presence. And the second grader that couldn’t regulate due to trauma…through your work with trauma-informed care, circle of control, choices and working with the parents, now struts down the hall, believes in himself, and is performing well.”
“You have cried, celebrated, and agonized,” concluded Bennett. “I am incredibly proud of these three.”
[Story by Sara Musgrove]