Photo by Taeyeon Kim
Kate Cordner is a career counselor at the high school. She graduated from BHS in 2009 and originally taught social studies but decided to change career paths. She got her master’s in school counseling at UMass Boston and worked at the Winthrop House before coming back to BHS last year to be an intern. At the end of last year, she was offered the long-term position as the career counselor and has worked at the high school since.
What does your job entail?
It’s a newer position. About five or six years ago, they dropped the career counselor position. Two years ago, they brought it back, and the career counselor left in the middle of last year, so it kind of fell out of sorts for a while. Now I’m kind of recreating the position. I do a lot with students dropping into the career center, which is right next door in room 279. Students can come in, and we can look at how they might find jobs, writing a resume, interview skills, other soft skills that they might want to build on. I’m also doing a lot with bringing speakers in for what we call coffee talks. We did one last year with women in business while I was the long-term sub for this position, and it went really well. I’m hoping to do that monthly now. Hopefully our first one will be in October, and it will be careers in the medical field. I’m also working on bringing a lot of the programs within the school to help students better understand what careers are out there. The idea of the career counselor is really to help students not just get jobs but to help them focus on what they want to be when they’re older or even why they’re going to go to a specific college to see if that career that they want to be in makes sense. It’s a huge rebuilding year for us.
What else are you excited for in the upcoming year?
I’m really excited for our speakers that are going to be coming in. These coffee talks are awesome because students get to have a more intimate setting with individuals from our community, or a little outside of our community, who are in a field that they might be interested in and to learn more about that field, to make connections. Another thing I’m hoping to do more of this year is pairing students with informational interviews and maybe doing tours of different companies, so students can better learn about careers. I’m also excited to work collaboratively with a lot of the programs at the high school, teachers, counselors, deans, administration, to better understand what we need at the high school in the career education sense and where I can fit into that. I’m excited to hopefully pilot a program for students to get summer jobs, to learn soft skills that they need for interviewing. I’m excited for a few of the workshops we’ll be doing. There’s so much more I can do even after that, that I don’t even know about yet.
Is there anything you’re worried about for this year?
That’s a good question. I like to think not, because I’m trying to be really optimistic and open to anything that happens. I’m more nervous-excited, because there’s so much, like I don’t know what’s going to happen day-to-day. That’s my position, just like any counselor’s position. You have no idea who’s going to come into your office, which is awesome, but it’s also a little scary because you have to be able to react at that moment in time. I’m more nervous for the unknown, but I’m not worried about much.
Do you have a favorite part about working with the students?
That’s a great question. I love working individually with students because I feel like I get to know them so much better than when I was working with them in a classroom. I get to know them personally and I get to make those connections. Even if I only helped one student this entire year, it would be an accomplishment for me.
What do you have to say to students who want to get to know you or come in for help?
I want students to know that my door is always open. I love meeting new students, and I want to help students. I want to help them be successful in whatever they want to be successful in. I also love to just chat because I think that’s a really good way to get to know individuals. It seems that any conversation I get in with a student turns into something about career education, which is so important. I just really want students to know my door is always open, and I love to just hear what they have to say.