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President's Letter: New Opportunities During Unprecedented Times

By Terri Tchorzynski | January 2022

As I sit here on New Year’s Day searching for the right words to share that align with the theme of student and school counselor wellness during undoubtedly THE most challenging year in education we have ever faced, I struggle to find the right words. I struggle to find the right words because I know deep in my heart that the words you all need to hear right now may be more than the reminders we have consistently heard about the importance of self-care during these challenging times and the power of “filling our own cup before we are able to fill the cup of others.” Although those reminders should not be overlooked and are crucial for us to do this important work, I am choosing a different approach as to how we think about student and school counselor wellness.

The start of each new year brings opportunities to embrace new challenges, reprioritize what is important in our lives, refocus ourselves in a way that empowers us with a drive to take on new goals, and rid ourselves of the unnecessary distractions that impede our success in being the best versions of ourselves. In reflecting on the past year, I perceive that it is time to stop waiting for things to go back to the way they used to be and, instead, to empower ourselves to accept our current times as our new reality and an opportunity to embrace a new way of supporting our students. Challenges have a tendency to lend themselves to opportunities, and I cannot think of a better opportunity to find new ways to better serve our students and our profession than right now when it is needed the most.

The mental health needs of our students are at an all-time high, social/emotional learning has become part of the K–12 classroom curriculum, there is an increased emphasis on supporting the whole child to meet academic outcomes, and the need has never been more apparent for a re-evaluation of systemic structures that support the needs of ALL students. Each of these realities speaks directly to what we do as school counselors and it is our time to show the impact we can have on student wellness and success when given the opportunity to do the work we have been trained to do. As of January 1, our governor announced just days ago that funding will be established specifically for the hiring of more school counselors. The time is now and our students and profession need our impact more than ever before.

So, I ask you, as you re-establish and reprioritize your goals and focus for this new year, how can you begin to take the necessary steps to reposition your program in a way that proactively aligns to the current reality of your students and brings you joy in knowing you are making a difference during this critical time in their lives? True student and school counselor wellness will come when we feel empowered to support students in the way that comes so naturally to us as school counselors. Let’s embrace these challenges to capitalize on this opportunity to bring us back to our reason for going into this amazing profession – the students.

I wish you well as we head into this new year with new opportunities to make a difference in students’ lives!

Contact Terri Tchorzynski, MSCA president and 2017 National School Counselor of the Year, at