The Student News Site of Westfield High School

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The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

Thursday table talks take over

Photo Zoe Frantzeskakis
“Meet the SACs” table talk from Sept. 28 outside of Caf A, featuring Student Assistance Counselors Jilyan Lane-Cruz and Lorna Lopez

Have a quick question, but you don’t want to go through the trouble of booking a counseling session? Well, new to WHS, Thursday table talks offer students the opportunity to chat with guidance counselors every
Thursday about designated lessons or general questions outside of the Cafeterias during lunch periods.

A stand full of pamphlets, flyers and two large bulletin boards is set up to catch students’ attention. So far, the talks have been focused on college and school questions, such as brainstorming a college essay, meeting the new student assistance counselors and recognizing the Week of Respect.

Senior Emily Shabinaw feels that “it’s easier to go and ask questions” and that the additional information she has learned has been “helpful with college deadlines coming up soon.” Throughout this school year, the counselors are also planning to include information about wellness, Red Ribbon Week, suicide prevention, course selection and more.

Through these talks, counselors hope to develop stronger relationships with their students. Director of Guidance Falynn Balassone said, “Our primary goal is to make those better connections with all of the students, not just the ones who are always finding their way down [to the guidance office].”

If a student’s specific guidance counselor is not sitting at the tables, they are still welcome to ask questions and receive the help they need. Counselor Ryan McGarrigan clarified that he enjoys being able “to talk to other students that are not in [his] caseload. [He] can just answer questions and be available during [students’] free period.”

Each week, guidance counselors will create the board and lesson plan and rotate positions during the lunch periods. For example, last Thursday’s program was created by anti-bullying specialists and WHS Counselors Paul Valenzano and Alycia Delesky, centered around their specialty, the Week of Respect.

The table talks aim to be educational and engaging. Many interactive activities, such as spinning wheels and raffles, are being planned to draw in more students. Rewards include stress balls, gift cards and candy to increase participation and bring excitement to the table.

Since table talks are new to WHS, not everything is expected to be perfect. Balassone explains, “We are always open to feedback from students, we only do what we do for [the students]. Tell us what you want us to do, and we’ll do it.”

Next week’s table talk will focus on the Common App and essay preparation. Be sure to stop by with questions and learn something new.

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