The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

An open door

Maribel Sanchez’s journey to becoming a long-term guidance counselor substitute
An+open+door
April Wang

Guidance counselor Clay Stiver, who works with students whose last names begin with Sh-Z, announced he would be taking paternity leave from Jan. 8 through April 8. During this time, long-term substitute guidance counselor Maribel Sanchez, who was previously a substitute for a counselor at Fremont High School, is handling his caseload.

Guidance counselor Belinda Olson says she misses Stiver’s character in the office, but is happy for this important time in his life. She understands the importance of spending time off with family, having taken maternity leave herself.

“I’m so excited that he gets to spend time with his daughter, and these are really awesome months where his daughter is more interactive,” Olson said. “I was reflecting on my own time, and it made me realize it’s just time he can’t get back. So we miss him, just his personality and energy, but I’m happy for him and his wife.”

Sanchez initially started as a paraeducator, a professional who assists teachers and helps students in special education.  Later, she returned to San José State University to earn her master’s degree in counseling and guidance.

“When I was a paraeducator, I loved being in the classroom, but I also loved that one-to-one with students and helping them more on a personal level to do some individual planning,” Sanchez said. “So I wanted to experience that side of the education field instead of the classroom, but I love both.”

When I was a paraeducator, I loved being in the classroom, but I also loved that one-to-one with students and helping them more on a personal level.

— Guidance Counselor Maribel Sanchez

Sanchez notices some differences between FHS and MVHS. She says school culture is very distinct; for example, at FHS, she notes that there is a bigger student population compared to MVHS. Sanchez also notes that the way courses are structured are different as well.

“The course selection process is different between the two schools,” Sanchez said. “Fremont might have some course selections here that they don’t have at MVHS. For example, one of them is culinary class. So there are differences, but most of it is pretty much the same.”

Guidance counselor Sylvia Lam notes that the shift from Stiver to Sanchez has been going well, especially during a time when many things are on the agenda – such as course selection – for the counselor team. When Sanchez was part of the counseling team at FHS, the MVHS counselor
team was able to meet with Sanchez and get a feel for their compatibility with her.

“We’re just jumping into everything with her, and she’s been a real good sport about it,” Lam said. “She asks a lot of questions if she’s not sure about something and comes really prepared.”

The guidance team is preparing for course selection in the coming months. Sanchez will be taking over Stiver’s responsibilities by meeting with students and delivering presentations.

“Our philosophy is the same. Our mission is the same. And she’s coming right in and she’s adapting to it,” Lam said. “I think she’s going to gain a lot of valuable information that she is going to be able to carry with her in her future jobs.”

Sanchez finds that “every student is different — they all have their unique challenges,” and as a guidance counselor, it’s this challenge of providing resources and adapting to each student’s needs that is the most rewarding for her. Sanchez is eager to meet with students who have questions, or those who simply want to come to the guidance counselor building to introduce themselves.

“My door is always open during brunch and lunch time, so I encourage students to stop by and say ‘Hi,’ even if your last name is not Sh-Z,” Sanchez said. “And if you want to schedule a meeting with me as well, the information is on our website and I’m happy to help you with whatever questions or challenges you might have.”

About the Contributors
Mihir Vishwarupe, Features Editor
Mihir is currently a senior and a features editor for El Estoque. In his free time, he enjoys playing basketball, practicing the guitar and traveling.
April Wang, Graphics Editor
April is a senior and Graphics Editor for El Estoque. In her free time, she likes to draw and read, and has a list of recommended books that is getting longer by the day no matter how fast she reads. April is applying to art colleges and is also mildly obsessed with K-Pop(she promises that it is a perfectly healthy obsession).
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