“Participating in the Student Counseling Committee has taught me many lessons about leadership and how to help the students of St. James.”

by Luke Ludwikoski, SJA Class of 2019

As a part of St. James and the Student Counseling Committee, I believe that the students that attend St. James have a dramatic impact on the success of the school. Participating in the Student Counseling Committee has taught me many lessons about leadership and how to help the students of St. James. It has also taught me how our committee of just six students can make a huge impact on the success of the school. To start, the Student Counseling Committee is a class that a student (Junior or Senior) can apply for the semester before the class. During class time, we talk about how we can help better the students of St. James. Each month usually has a theme and we do an event for each month. This can be anywhere from putting a ‘motivational saying’ on everyone’s car or making videos for all school assemblies, showcasing a specific topic. Everything we do is to help improve the students that attend St. James; and as shown in the past, when our students succeed, our school as a whole succeeds.

The Student Counseling Committee has planned many assemblies and school-wide events. A good example is the “Stress Less Fest”, which was a school-wide event to help students before finals. We had a stretch-and-breathing station, ping pong tables, a buffet of cookies, hand-made stress balls, and most importantly, we even brought in three puppies! This event went very well but came with a lot of time and effort for our team. We accepted this challenge and went to work. Through lots of trial and error, we had a final plan and it couldn’t have gone any better. The parents of St. James were a huge help and provided us with almost all of the cookies. There is no other community that is this closely knit and wants to help the school as much as the parents of St. James do. We had multiple students tell us how much the “Stress Less Fest” helped get the weight of finals off of their shoulders and how big of an impact it had on them right before finals. This is one of the many things that the Student Counseling Committee does to help the students at St. James succeed.

One of my favorite assemblies that we have put on was the suicide awareness assembly. This assembly has had the biggest impact on students out of everything we have done. I believe this assembly was so impactful because we had a student-written play acted out by some of the students and teachers in front of the whole school. After the play ended we set up tables with note cards and asked the students of St. James to write something they want to say to someone struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts. The note cards were randomly redistributed to the students and they received an affirming message from another student in the building. What we as a counseling team, and many students, learned from this assembly was that something as small as saying hi to someone in the hallway can save a life. We understand that everyone is carrying their own cross and we as a counseling team are wanting to carry that cross with them no matter how big their cross might be.

The Student Counseling Committee also acknowledges that social media is used by almost every student in the building via Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. One of our bigger assemblies was about cyberbullying. We know that this happens due to how much time is spent on phones and we wanted to remind students how important it is to be kind behind their screens. We showed, through a skit, how some hurtful words over text can leave a world of hurt for someone on the receiving end. However, we implemented a “hero” in the skit to show students that standing up for each other is a lot better than putting someone down, even though it can sometimes be hard.

The Student Counseling Committee’s mission is, “To develop, create, and implement school-wide campaigns focused on subjects such as personal character development, mental health awareness, digital citizenship, and social relationships.” This mission statement is brought into every inch of what we do. We dedicate a class to help better understand the battles that students face every day in hope that we can have a positive impact on them.

The biggest thing that comes out of the Student Counseling Committee is the relationships you build with your peers in the counseling team and the students you help in the building. So many friendships have been formed through the events and assemblies that the Student Counseling Committee creates. The friendships formed with the people in the class has been a blessing to me and for everyone in the Student Counseling Committee. We are a close-knit family of brothers and sisters, under God, helping the lives of high school students. The students in the Student Counseling Committee are self-driven, faith-filled, and school-spirited young men and women that will not take “They are fine” for an answer. There is no other class like it in the entire school and to be a part of it is something extremely special. Without it, I do not think that our school would be in the amazing place it is today because the Student Counseling Committee reminds the students of what is actually important on their journey through high school, life, and most importantly, heaven.

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, but must be felt with the heart.” –Helen Keller

by Luke Ludwikoski,  SJA Class of 2019
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