Written and photographed by JJ Discher
First, meet Gonzalo Chavez. Chavez grew up in the Bay Area and attended M-A, graduating in 2010. After high school, he enrolled at Foothill College before graduating from the University of San Diego.
Chavez said he was motivated to become a counselor by “working in the community support center at M-A as a community liaison dealing with truancy, mentoring, and attendance. I enjoyed working directly with the students and wanted to do it in a more academic role.” He added, “I love interacting with all the students and doing classroom visits with all grade levels. I also love sitting down with students and not just getting to know them but also their academics”
During his time at M-A, Chavez said, “I had the chance to manage a mentoring program for freshman students. I also created The Dream Club for students who were born outside of the country that want to pursue higher education.”
Chavez’s approach to writing letters of recommendation for seniors “is to showcase the student voice and experiences, not just through academics but also extracurriculars.
When asked about his approach to suggesting classes for students he said, “The most important thing is the student’s interests. Also looking at their current classes and communicating the class rigor can be helpful.¨
Overall, Chavez said that he loves M-A because “M-A is a good reflection of our society because it is very diverse and showcases students from not only different backgrounds but walks of life, which is very different from other schools”
Now meet Irene Gil. prior to coming to M-A, Gill worked as a guidance counselor at a high school in San Jose for five years. So far she has loved her experience at MA and highlighted it’s staff/student interaction.
She said she became a guidance counselor because “My mother was a teacher’s assistant, so growing up I spent a lot of time volunteering in classrooms. That is where I developed an interest for working in education. Being part of the first generation born in the U.S., I understood that navigating the high school and college process can be overwhelming. I wanted to be able to provide students with needed support, so I decided that being a school counselor would be a good fit for me.”
Gil said she wanted to come to MA because she “always wanted to serve different populations and I heard positive comments about M-A.”
She said, “I am very happy to be here.”