A new member of the cast…


Morgan Broadhurst

Debra Castonguay works hard everyday to establish strong relationships with students. Castonguay is excited to be working in a great town and to continue meeting her new students. “Hollis Brookline is a great Community to work in” said school counselor Castonguay.

Morgan Broadhurst, Staff Writer

With over a decade of teaching up her sleeve, Debra Castonguay joined the HBHS school counseling department in 2019 with a lot to offer. She is admired for her positive attitude and tremendous amount of experience in the teaching realm. 

Living in Nashua for her whole life, she jumped at the chance to have a job so close to her. “I’ve lived in Nashua my whole life, so having this opportunity to be so close to home and having the opportunity to work in such a great school district was just an awesome opportunity I definitely couldn’t pass up,” said Castonguay. 

After expressing a very strong interest in psychology and counseling, she was able to pursue  both her passions by majoring in psychology at the University of New Hampshire for her undergraduate degree, followed by counseling at Rivier University for grad school. For almost seven years, Castonguay was a preschool and kindergarten director, followed by many more teaching and counseling jobs at a variety of different places, including Southside Middle School in Manchester, Founders Academy in Manchester, two long term sub jobs in Hudson and college counseling at the center for college planning in Concord. 

“Enjoying my overall high school experience paired with enjoying psychology just sort of seemed like a natural fit for me,” said Castonguay. 

Amused by getting to interact with students and help them with the college planning portion of their high school experience, Castonguay is fond of how different her days are each week. “My favorite part about this job is that every day is totally different. You can schedule your day and have a plan, but that changes often and the days go by so fast because you’re busy and every day is different. It’s always interesting,” said Castonguay.

Although her days are exciting for the majority of the time, being a counselor is not always easy. She said that “it is challenging sometimes when students have [struggles] outside of [the] school that being in the school we can’t change. We can support students and help them with what goes on here, but sometimes it’s hard to change what’s going on at home, it’s just one of those things you can’t change.” 

The hardest part about becoming a guidance counselor at a new school is establishing connections with students, but Hollis Brookline High School’s head counselor Theressa Risdal expresses that with Castonguay’s calm personality, she should not have a problem initiating strong relationships. Risdal said, “She’s just got a great personality in terms of understanding students’ needs and works to help the students no matter where they’re at. She’s very positive and [has] a great calm demeanor [and] has a great sense of humor with students.” 

Adjusting to a new counselor and making new connections can be hard for the students and the counselor, but Allie Wood ‘22 said, “It’s a little weird switching counselors but I am glad [that] I am only a sophomore and didn’t really get used to my counselor from last year. 

Castonguay is a positive figure that the guidance department is lucky to have gained this year. She can’t wait to get to know her students and establish strong relationships.