Many are not informed about our school’s Student Assistance Counselor and the benefits she provides to the student body.
This is Ms. Calabrese’s first year in Ramapo High School and, so far, she loves it; “The students have really great energy, I really have loved just meeting students. The staff has been very welcoming, supportive, and friendly.” Ms. Calabrese began working as Ramapo’s Student Assistance Counselor in early September. She previously worked at Paramus Middle School. This will be her third year working as a SAC, but her first year working in a high school; “Being in high school, I really enjoy talking to your age group.”
Although some services were available at her high school, Ms. Calabrese indicated that she did not truly have a Student Assistance Counselor until her senior year, “I wasn’t aware that [the student assistance counselor’s office] was a place I could go. So, I didn’t use the SAC to the full capacity, although I wish I did.”
When entering her office, you are automatically welcomed with a serene atmosphere. With provided inspirational quotes, bright colors, therapeutic games, crafts, as well as a Himalayan salt lamp, Ms. Calabrese makes her office a relaxing place for students to confide in her.
After getting situated, I had to ask the main question most Ramapo students obtain: What does a SAC actually do? To which I was given the enlightening answer: “My job entails helping the individual and the community. It’s a bridge between students and staff and parents. It means really getting to know people and providing a space to talk, or to just be. I like to describe it as the school version of therapy. It is the same idea of being able to come and build tools of resiliency and to just vent, and also, to grow.”
Ms. Calabrese also brought up the importance of providing students with the resources to maintain a well-balanced mental health and combat possible substance abuse issues. A part of the job she specifically enjoys is advocating for different people and their purposes. Upon her arrival, Ms. Calabrese has involved herself in the Gay-Straight Alliance Club and SADD. She is currently gathering students to join the Ramapo team for the Saddle River “Out of the Darkness Walk to Fight Suicide,” is involved with the “Knock Out Opioid Abuse” event which will take place during the October 26th home game, and is working to implement either before or after school group counseling and yoga sessions.
“I would like students to know that whatever they are going through, there is always hope and support…” Ms. Calabrese closed with. “The things that seem to be big problems, or maybe are big problems at the time, are temporary. And if the pain does not subside for a while, there is strength in going through struggle. Just know that there is nothing that a person cannot overcome. I encourage anybody at any point to reach out to me or their counselor, or any adult they feel comfortable with.”
Ms. Calabrese’s door is always open to discuss any problem, no matter how minuscule or significant it may seem. So, feel free to pay her a visit at the guidance office when your everyday stress begins to feel overwhelming.
By: Tara Lamorgese ’19, Staff Editor
Featured Photo: Ms. Calabrese, Ramapo’s Student Assistant Counselor (Photo Courtesy of Amelia Amen).