Counselor leaves after decade at Jones


Sam Donnell

Erica White wraps up her work at Jones.

High school counselors are responsible for hundreds of high school students each year. Whether they are educating us on applying to college, advising us on real world conflicts, or simply sitting down to talk about life, our counselors are always put their students before themselves. Our very own “counseling corner” is composed of six staff members, Brian Coleman, LaToya Hudson-Spells, Hope Stimac, Sajida Syed, Olga Gutierrez, and Erica White. Unfortunately this current 2017-2018 school year will be White’s tenth and final year at Jones. In her ten years here White has seen the school evolve from a small one building school, to what we know as Jones today.

“When I first started we were just under 800 students and I was the only freshman counselor. I’ve seen and heard the promise of this new building that they were going to build, but actually getting to see it happen has been really exciting, and it’s been exciting to be a part of watching the new doors open, and getting to expand the opportunity for more students, so i’ve seen a lot of changes around here,” said White.

Although White will be leaving Jones, her counseling career will continue at Oak Park River Forest (OPRF) High School.

“I will continue to be a general school counselor, so I’m still going to work with 9th through 12th grade students, I will be at a much larger school, so I have a lot to learn, but I will be doing similar things,” said White.

White made it very clear that her decision to move on from Jones was in order to enhance her career and had little to do with her experiences here at Jones.

“So one of the things that attracted me to their counseling program, is the sheer number of supports that they have in place. It’s a different kind of place, it’s one school, one district, whereas we are one of several schools, so with that there are a lot of opportunities in terms of what their counseling program is able to develop and implement, so I’m really excited and think that it will be an exciting thing for me to explore as a counselor,” said White.

White has been with her counseling team for several years, and this transition in her career is a very emotional time. As a counselor your work is very different than the rest of the school staff  and White has grown very close to her team.

“I’m going to miss my team. I am very very close with the counselors here, and they have been with me through a lot of life and career experiences, I even had my two children during my time here at Jones, and they were really supportive of me through that, so I’m really going to miss them, and it will be really hard goodbye to say,” said White.

Along with becoming close to her department, she has also grown closely with the student body, and has had the unique experience of seeing student grow from freshman to senior year. And she is hopeful that her experiences at her new position will be just as positive.

“I’m also really going to miss the students here, I think I’ve undoubtedly had very positive experiences with students, and I’ve gotten to know them and learn about their families and I hope that I continue to have positive experiences with students [at OPRF], but this has just been a phenomenal experience, in that regard,” said White.

Now that we will have an open position in the counseling department a new counselor will now be needed to fit White’s role.

“It is now up to administration along with the [Jones] counseling department, they will be posting the position, collecting resumes,  and deciding on who they want to interview, and I know everyone is really anxious to find the right person,” said White.