“Rewarding, commitment, advocate, and passion” are four adjectives that guidance counselor Lauren Yates uses to describe her job.
Yates started her counseling journey at a little farm town school in Quincy, Illinois as a music teacher and band director. Students at Quincy would come to Yates often for advice on the college process along with other school issues they wanted answers to. She felt as though she lacked information on how to help the students and wanted to get more educated. As this process repeated itself, Yates created her goal and talked to their school counselor to start her own journey. Her biggest influencer on her career would not be just one singular person, but a whole range of students from Quincy. They helped her achieve her enthusiasm for her new position.
Now employed at OTHS, Yates and the other counselors have provided more opportunities for students to get help on starting their own journeys into the real world.
With the impression of counselors as always being there for students, Yates said, “We are not here to teach everyone how to go through their entire future. We are here to help you with the current situations to get the right information and for students to individually plan their whole lives out.” Yates helps students fill out college applications, plan college visits, apply for financial aid, find scholarship opportunities and help answer questions parents may have regarding their children.
Outside of school, Yates focuses on her work with little downtime to relax at home. With all of her assistance, Yates leaves on a final reminder: “You are your own biggest advocate. High school gives tools to help you and to be on your own in the future.”