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New Salem - June 24, 2009

Counselor’s Corner

By Dr. Gaylynn Becker
National Certified Career Counselor
National Certified School Counselor
New Salem High School Counselor’s Corner

It seems like yesterday, but it was 8 years ago that I started being the career counselor at New Salem High School. It certainly was a memorable experience. New Salem High School was the best job that I ever left. I don’t mean that it was easy and fun. I mean that it was rewarding.

The students at New Salem High School were overall a very appreciative group of students with which to work. I remember some classrooms of students would, on occasion, clap for me when I was done with the lesson. However, I’m not sure if they clapped because they liked my presentation or if they clapped because I was done and ceased boring them to death! I prefer to think it was the former – at least sometimes.

I even had a few students who told me that they could see that I really liked my job. It is the warmth, appreciation and caring expressed by some students that made the job particularly enjoyable. Many students would express thanks upon leaving my office after they came in to see me about a particular issue. Usually the issue was related to career exploration or a career-planning topic.

Another thing I really liked about my job at New Salem High School was seeing students succeed in school, academics, school activities, out-of-school activities, and life in general.

The cooks are exceptional! They have smiles, positive attitudes, and the food is “Oh so good!”

In addition to the above, I thank and will miss the New Salem Public Schools’ teachers, staff and administration. In particular I wish to thank Mr. Gordon Davis, Superintendent, and Mrs. Karen Becker, high school secretary, for eight years of being great co-workers in helping me to have the best career development program possible within my abilities and my time constraints.

I will also miss the parents of New Salem and Almont. The parents are what made for the fine students at New Salem High School. Parenting isn’t easy. In fact it is one of the most difficult jobs in life. However being the best parent possible often means being a loving and responsible parent who can also provide tough love when necessary.

In some “Counselor’s Corner” articles I’ve shared some of what I’ve done that has worked with raising our son, Karl. You may recall my article a couple of years ago in which I included a job description that we provided for our son. Within that article I also provided the job description that we wrote for parents that we gave to our son. This helped each of us clarify expectations. I’m a believer that when our goals or plans are in writing, they are much more real. I also think if the written plan is a good one, the goals are more likely to be achieved.

Do Your Best
I hope students of New Salem High School continue to listen well in class, do their homework, and ask relevant questions. I also hope that students consider their strengths and interests in their career decision-making process.
I hope those students who put forth a lot of effort into their education continue to do so.

Those who aren’t putting enough effort into their education should ratchet it up a bit. Your futures depend upon it. Your actions also have a big impact on your parents, siblings, classmates, and friends. Great Scott! They will have an even bigger effect on your future spouse and children!

Listen to Mom & Dad
Remember, the people who have your best interests in mind are your parents. They have invested a lot of time and effort into getting you this far in life. They want to see you continue to succeed and have the best life that is possible. Students who were listening in class have heard me say this a few times. I hope you bear with me this last time.

When making difficult decisions, I recommend, “Listen to Mom and Dad.” You will have the benefit of their experience and wisdom. Some day they will not be there. But, you can still ask yourself, “I wonder what Mom and Dad would do?”

The New Salem Journal
Thanks to Rocky Rapsavage, Doug Rapsavage and the entire staff at The New Salem Journal. New Salem, Almont, and the surrounding area are indeed fortunate to have The New Salem Journal. The Journal is a diamond in New Salem. The Journal not only provides local news but they do it with flair, emotion, and enthusiasm.

Students and community members continually get caught doing positive things. The Journal then publicizes them for the greater community to see.

The coverage of high school activities is great! In addition, The New Salem Journal has provided an avenue for one of our young people to explore his interests and abilities by allowing him to write articles. “The Way I See It” by Bryce Tellmann is one such example. Of course, this allows the readers of the paper to see a person’s view on selected topics. Whether one agrees or disagrees is okay. It helps us all to be a little more knowledgeable and well rounded.

The New Salem Journal’s tradition of support for our community’s youth is very important for our future. Great Scott! Our youth are our future! Thanks!

It was very emotional for me when Janna Marie Beth and Megan Toepke made very positive references to me in their valedictory addresses at graduation. These are 2 examples of the caring and appreciative students that attend New Salem High School. We have a lot of students like that. While it isn’t always at the surface, many times it is just beneath the surface of each student.

I hope that New Salem High School students, graduates, parents, patrons, teachers, support staff, cooks, custodians, secretaries, business manager, administration, and school board members continue to have positive attitudes and do what is in the best interests of our students – our future!

If any of my current students or former students have a question for me or would like my assistance, I hope they will contact me. My home e-mail address is My home phone number is (701) 222-3222.

Have an excellent academic day - everyday!