State High Alumni Brenton Mitchell Makes Return to SCASD staff


Photos Courtesy of Brenton Mitchell

Pictured is Brenton Mitchell, who joined the SCASD Counseling team for the 2021-2022 school year.

Chloe Poindexter, Opinion Editor

State High alum Brenton Mitchell has been dreaming of becoming a counselor at State High since he was a student here. This year, Mitchell finally came back to the school to be on the counseling staff. He believes that this position will be an opportunity to engage in a more direct way with the community here at State High. 

Mitchell was a student at State High, but was not actually born here in State College. Originally born in South Korea, he was adopted and grew up in State College. His last place of employment was at Penn State University, where he served as a Community Health Educator providing harm reduction programming for students cited with alcohol and marijuana violations. Prior to his work at PSU, he was a Mental Health Counselor at Juniata College in Huntingdon, PA. 

Mitchell has a lot of experience from his past work, and is huge on wanting all students to be heard and know that their thoughts and feelings are valid.  

“I want students to feel heard. I want students to feel like their experiences are valid, and I want students to consider the idea that learning about oneself is the greatest educational odyssey one can undertake,” Mitchell said. “To me, learning about oneself includes friendships, family relations, academics, extracurriculars, jobs, failures, successes, and the list goes on.” 

Being a counselor at State High comes with the responsibility of advocating for all students. Mitchell believes that for him to be successful in advocating for students, he has to be the healthiest version of himself. 

“To me, advocating for students begins with listening; to them and myself. It means taking care of myself, getting enough sleep, exercise, and managing my time effectively so I can put myself in a position to be as present as possible with students,” Mitchell said. 

Mitchell once went through similar situations that students are currently going through and intends to use that to help relate and advocate for them.

“Advocating means attending to ways I have been hurt, marginalized, and empowered,” Mitchell said. “I want students to know that living with anxiety, depression, struggling to manage my time effectively, academic performance, and loving oneself are challenges faced by many, myself included.”

Mitchell wants students to be aware that he too has been through difficult times and struggles, and can relate to students on a personal level. His experiences have helped form his philosophy when it comes to advocating for students. 

“Advocating for students to me means engaging in continuous processes of self-reflection, identifying how cultural norms and systems may influence individuals (and vice versa), and seeking ways to alleviate pressure or invisibility that many students may be feeling and facing.” 

Mitchell has walked these State High halls before, but as a teenager. While it’s been a while since he’s been in the building, he hopes to get to know the constantly evolving school and intends to make genuine bonds with students in his first year being a counselor at State High.