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Impacting Our Students for Generations to Come

This year's School Counselor of the Year shares why First Lady Michelle Obama's work to expand higher education opportunities inspires her.

Watch First Lady Michelle Obama speak at the Reach Higher & Counselor of the Year Event at 11pm ET.

"What do school counselors do?"

Many people ask me that question -- and there are a variety of responses depending on whom you ask. I prefer to reframe the question: "How are my students different because of what I do as a school counselor?"

As a school counselor at a career center in western Michigan, a major portion of my role is helping students determine their post-graduation plan of action and providing them with the support they need to make the decisions that are right for them and help them to Reach Higher. I don’t take my responsibilities lightly; the work we do as school counselors can impact our students for generations to come.

Regardless of the grade levels we serve, no student can fall through the cracks on our watch. School counselors must work to eliminate barriers to their success by ensuring -- to the best of our ability -- that all students receive the support they deserve. We need to be their greatest advocates.

That's why it is an honor to be selected as the American School Counselor Association's 2017 School Counselor of the Year and to be recognized by the First Lady and our school counselor-in-chief, Michelle Obama.

In her service as First Lady, she’s worked to inspire every student in America to complete their education past high school -- and to eliminate the barriers that face too many of our students. She’s elevated National College Signing Day and raised visibility for first-generation college graduates like herself. And Mrs. Obama’s support of the school counseling profession and acknowledgement of what we do for students inspires me to continue working every day for the benefit of the students I support.

So I hope you can join us for today’s special event that will highlight and recognize the amazing work of the nation's top school counselors. You can watch the 2017 School Counselor of the Year ceremony right here.

Learn more about the First Lady's work to help more students reach higher for college and beyond.