SANDY FERETTO – REDWOOD TIMES School counselor Megan Guenther

Miranda >> Megan Guenther is bringing refreshing energy to South Fork High School and Miranda Junior High as school counselor.

Since Guenther started in the position at the beginning of the school year, she has let the students know she is a point of contact for them.

Guenther and counselor techs Donna Bowman and Ann Constantino are on campus for one-on-one sessions with students and provide academic, social, personal and career counseling. Her time is divided between the high school and junior high. Guenther said this is the smallest school she has worked for, so she is getting an opportunity to know a lot of the students.

She grew up in the central valley of California in Turlock, and attended California State University at Stanislas as an undergraduate and received her Master’s degree in education with emphasis on school counseling from there also.

“I didn’t get too far from home until I moved up here,” she said, adding she received credentials and certification from Cal State Stanislas and the University of California at Davis.

Guenther explained that before she came to Southern Humboldt she had been a program director for a grief counseling program for children, but she wanted to get back to school counseling. When she took a vacation to Piercy to visit her aunt and uncle, Marv and Rhonda Richards, and check out Northern California, she liked the area. When the school counseling position became available Guenther saw that this is where she is supposed to be.

Guenther loves working with children and young people, and has had experience working with students from kindergarten to college age.

Guenther is excited about academic, college and career counseling and the counseling team is taking the seventh graders to CR and the eighth graders to Humboldt State University with the Decade of Difference.

Guenther was involved in the coordinating and planning of Challenge Day (see related article this issue), a one day mix-it-up activity that gets students to work toward a common goal and interact with students they do not usually interact with.

The event occurs twice, one day with freshman and sophomores, and the other day with juniors and seniors. Students are following up by planning other events.

In addition, Guenther said, each grade level at the high school has girls groups that are kind of free form. Guenther said, “Sometimes we have a topic and sometimes it’s just a chance for them to get together and talk about what’s going on in their lives or in school.”

There are also groups for girls at the junior high.

Guenther said she is starting a group in March for seventh and eighth grade boys and is working with some of the seniors to mentor the group. There is also a peer mediator program so that when students are having a conflict they can have it mediated by their peers.

This year PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) was implemented at the junior high. The program focuses on positive behavior, and in terms of discipline gives students an opportunity to right their wrongs, Guenther said. Along with that at the junior high there is the Second Step Curriculum. In classes twice a week the program deals with issues of bullying, increasing empathy, student support for each other, and that lines up very well with PBIS, Guenther said.

Guenther has been running a lot lately because she hopes to run the half marathon when the Redwood Marathon comes to the Avenue of the Giants in the spring. She said she goes home frequently to see her family in the Central Valley and she has two nephews who are age six and eight, and are the coolest people she knows.

Guenther lives in Garberville with an awesome roommate, she said, and she has a great group of friends here.

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