More Than Just an Office


The State High Counseling Office is always open to students who need help with anything ranging from college decisions to scheduling to personal guidance.

Rena Li, Staff Writer

When people think of State High, the wonderful school building, the classes offered, and the many glowing opportunities for students usually come to mind. While those do make up much of the school, another aspect to be noted is the unmatched support each person in the school receives through the Counseling Office. State High Counselors work hard to ensure the wellbeing of each student, and for teenagers experiencing the ups and downs of life, it is comforting to know that people care about their situation and feelings.

The State High Counseling Office, located in the heart of the school, is composed of a vast network of counselors. At the beginning of each year, students are assigned by grade, last name, or special need, to counselors who guide them through their high school experience. “I think it’s important for students to know that school counselors really want to get to know every student on their caseload,” Mr. David Eckberg, a counselor at State High said. “We have a lot of demands on our time and many hats to wear, but in the end what we value most is that time that we get to sit down with our students and help them with whatever issues or concerns they may be dealing with.”

The Counseling Office is easily accessible, and students in need of help can stop in to schedule an appointment with their counselor at any time. Counselors often have check-ins throughout the year to talk and ask how students are, but students are strongly encouraged to connect with their counselors as well, even just to get to know them.

While it might be scary to share or ask for help in the midst of struggles, counseling is not disciplinary and reaching out does not put a student in trouble. “We have an open-door policy,” Mrs. Suzanne Lyke, lead counselor at State High said. “We are here to help students and family, and if they’re having some struggles, concerns, anything of the sort, please reach out to a school counselor, stop in, and schedule an appointment, because we’re here to help.” No need is too small or much, and when a student reaches out, it starts the conversation, allowing counselors to help them.

“There are three components to our roles as school counselors,” Mr. Paul Brigman, another lead counselor at State High said. “One is academic counseling, helping students navigate their way through choosing appropriate courses…The second third is career and college readiness, making sure students understand the steps they need to take in high school…and then the other third is personal, social, emotional needs of students…needs from basic, individual counseling with students who might be navigating a personal issue…conflict…mental health concerns…family systems…anything affecting the student’s ability to succeed in school.” As mentioned, students come to counseling for a wide variety of needs, and students can truly reach out to their counselors for guidance with anything.

In addition to meeting with counselors, there are many other important, helpful resources that the school offers to help students. The Student Assistance Program, or SAP for short, is a program where students can refer someone in need to be helped. Everything is kept anonymous, and SAP is designed to assist in identifying and overcoming issues such as alcohol, tobacco, other drugs, and mental health issues that pose a barrier to a student’s success. Safe2Say, another important organization, is a youth violence prevention program that teaches youth and adults how to recognize the warning signs and signals from individuals who may be a threat to themselves or others. State High students can download the Safe2Say app and are encouraged to say something about any safety concerns they have.

In addition to organizations, hotlines like Can Help, a 24-hour, 7 days a week hotline, provide services for Centre County, serving clients with drug and alcohol issues and dual diagnosing clients who need mental health services. Although the school does not offer personal therapy counseling, students should be aware that they can use these hotlines as well as “talk with their school counselor who can help them and their parent/guardian get connected with outside agencies, private practice counselors, or our own Integrated Mental Health (IMH) Services,” Eckberg said.

At the end of the day, The State High Counseling office stands as a safe space for students to relay and process their thoughts and feelings. State High counselors strive to be as accessible as possible and want students to feel heard, no matter what they are dealing with. Mental health should never be something to feel ashamed about, and if you or someone you know is struggling, please reach out, whether it be to your counselor or another trusted adult in your life. For more information, visit the Counseling Office or the State High Counseling Webpage.