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The Caravan

The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

Counselors at MC are always here to help

Jack Breakey ’24
Ms. Rachel Jackson (Left) and Mrs. Kristina Luster (Right) are two of the MC counselors ready to help students.

In a new age of emotional and social issues affecting seemingly almost everyone, many young men fail to keep up. Students at  Mount Carmel have their fair share of challenges, from academic problems to emotional issues.

Luckily, MC has a secret weapon to combat these emotional issues.

In the Graham Center, a student can find MC’s Counseling offices, headed by Mrs. Kristina Luster, Dean of Student Services and senior counselor. She is also supported by freshman counselor Mr. Dan LaCount, sophomore counselor Ms. Rachel Jackson, junior and college counselor Mrs. Vanessa Miguez, Freshmen First coordinator Mr. John O’Connor, and Father Jim Lewis ’72 as Student Support

Their purpose is to ensure that students are doing well academically, in student life, and getting involved in MC activities.

“I think without school counseling, students wouldn’t connect the pieces at their age,” said Mrs. Luster. “We are kind of the glue to smooth those edges, which are academics, sports, clubs, and family which all come in different directions for teens.”

Many of the counselors have an open-door policy, and while most of them are assigned to specific grade levels, each is available to all students.

“If you don’t know the answer 100%, come talk to us,” said Ms. Rachel Jackson, counselor of the sophomores.

Counselors are advocates for the students. If a student struggles in a class, they will contact the teacher. They also don’t just ensure students are doing well academically but make sure students are involved at MC.

“What’s the one part of our advising for underclassmen?” said Mrs. Luster. “We ask them, ‘How are you best utilizing your time at MC?’ And all of those extracurricular activities help you become a more well-rounded person.”

With people who help guide students through this process of involvement, it makes it a lot easier to find whatever they’re interested in.

Teachers have so many students and sometimes little time outside of class with certain students. This is where counselors take a huge load off of teachers. If a student has been absent for a long period, the counselors would reach out to assist.

Another major thing is helping students emotionally and socially. This generation has a lot of mental health problems, some unique to young men. Counseling is an extra layer of support in a safe environment and with people willing to navigate through problems of all kinds. But MC is unique.

“At a place like MC, where the community is so close,”  said Mrs. Luster, “I felt we can get over emotional or social problems.”

The counselors are also always friendly faces to see in the hallways. Most students can agree that counselors understand them more and can guide them through any struggles they face. 

“In the beginning, there can be some barriers,” said Ms. Jackson, “But once you build that trust that’s where you can begin to form a relationship between the student.”

Other than just always looking out for students, they make sure they are on track to success. Mrs. Luster or Mrs. Miguez regularly talk to upperclassmen about college plans and interesting career or scholarship opportunities. 

“With the help of the counselors, I was able to apply for the college I want and be able to get scholarships which make sure I can go to college affordably,” said senior Alex Basulto.

As many upperclassmen struggle through their college search, the counselors are always checking in and putting information that can help upperclassmen succeed. This resource doesn’t just start at college, but career paths. Many students don’t just go to college but into the workforce like the trades or military. They might not hold anyone’s hand, but they’ll definitely guide students toward the future that they want.

“We make the process smoother in a way where students can see their possibilities,” said Mrs. Luster.

The purpose of school counselors is critical to success at MC. They aren’t just faculty members but also that extra support for students. They are here for the students first and foremost. Counselors are often the first to know of almost any problem a student faces. They are willing to have a conversation with any student on any topic. 

“Don’t be afraid to come talk with us,” says Ms. Jackson.

In a world where talking about mental health is becoming more popular, it’s important to talk to someone when feeling not quite right. Counselors are there to help make sure that students are on their A-game. They are the ones who make sure MC students succeed.

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About the Contributor
Jack Breakey ’24
Jack Breakey ’24, Staff Writer
John “Jack” Breakey is a Senior at Mount Carmel High School. Jack resides on the South Side of Chicago in the Morgan Park neighborhood. He also attended grammar school in the neighborhood at St. Cajetan School.  Jack is a member of Caravan Broadcasting Network as their Senior Producer and also a member of the MC Model UN club and a Peer Leader. Outside of school, he’s a member of the Chicago Fire Department Gold Badge Society. For hobbies, Jack enjoys bike riding, watching movies, playing video games, and researching government. One of Jack’s favorite pastimes is listening to music. He is a large fan of rock and roll, especially Bruce Springsteen, Jimmy Buffett, and the genre of bluegrass. This influence came from his father, Thomas Breakey, Mount Carmel class of 1982, and an active Chicago firefighter. His father has been a large inspiration for Jack, who has become a better man because of his father. Jack's dream job is working in international relations or national security. He researches current world events and conflicts while also being a student of history. Who knows? Jack might become the real Jack Ryan one day.