The Friendly Face In the Counseling Office


Hannah Escandon

Guidance counselor Susan Joyce said the most helpful thing is that “every morning I come in and she unlocks my door for me when I have a handful of stuff to carry that honestly is the most helpful thing.” Wilkins is friendly, welcoming and always willing to help out.

Hannah Escandon, Staff Writer

The first person students and teachers see as they walk into the counseling office is the friendly face behind the desk, secretary Brenda Wilkins. Most people see secretary Brenda Wilkins at her desk, on her computer, answering the phone, writing passes or talking to students. What many people don’t know is that Mrs.Wilkins runs the behind the scenes of the counseling office and is responsible for many things around the school. 

Starting her 18th year working as a secretary, Wilkins knows what she’s doing and has invaluable experience. First thing in the morning, she comes in and takes care of the teachers that are absent by making sure they have coverage for their classes. “There’s a lot of behind the scenes; the staff probably knows, but the students don’t know how much I put into [tasks like] testing, the preparation for [the SAT], the test booklet, assigning seats, and making sure pencils are all set,” said Wilkins.

For the school counselors, she organizes their schedules and books appointments for them. Anytime a student wants to schedule a meeting with any guidance counselor, she ensures that it will fit into both the counselor and the student’s schedule, making sure it doesn’t interfere with anything else. “[Wilkins] helps things run smoothly, she has access to our calendars; she helps students who come in for appointments; she helps field phone calls; [and] if we have two things going on at once, she helps manage the kiddos,” said guidance counselor Susan Joyce.  

When students need counselors, it’s up to her to find them when they’re not in the office, and when counselors are not available, she does the best she can to help the student. One of her favorite things is “getting to see the kids. When they get into college they come ring the bell and we clap, holler and congratulate them,” said Wilkins.

Wilkins also contributes a lot to the counseling office’s security. The counseling office needs an attendant for its entrance, as counselors deal with a lot of confidential information. Wilkins has to be the eyes and ears of the office to help determine who may need immediate help and make sure they receive it. “There are a lot of things that go on that people just trust that get done that she does, such as maintaining student files, paper college applications and prioritizing situations,” said guidance counselor David Hersey.

Both guidance counselors Joyce and Hersey said Wilkins gives everyone so much support, and she always tries to be as helpful as she can, not only with the guidance counselors but with teachers as well. She’s organized, a hard worker, friendly to everyone and is always willing to have a conversation with anyone who comes into the office. “She is stress tolerant, and, what I mean by that is [that] she can have three students in front of her, while the phone is ringing and while she’s trying to work on subs, for a class that starts in five minutes. She’s trying to keep her cool during that which is the most important thing to be able to do because this department can have more serious things going on and we need to be able to stay calm,” said Hersey.

It’s not easy keeping everyone’s schedules and having to always be flexible, but after almost 18 years, Wilkins has become the most important part of the counseling office. Guidance counselors David Hersey and Susan Joyce both appreciate how Wilkins can help students while the guidance office is busy by being conversational and talking to them about accessing their calendars to schedule an appointment. That way students feel like they’re going to get their needs met and they don’t have to play a game with their guidance counselor of “trying to talk to each other through email about what the best time is. Students are also really busy and sometimes it’s not a good time to pull a student, so that’s really helpful for students and me,” said Hersey. 

It is easy to see how important Wilkins is to students, guidance counselors, and classes. Wilkins, being the friendly face behind so much of the school, is more than just helpful to everyone and it shows through how much she cares about her job, co-workers, and students.