2018 CHIEF MATE AWARD RECIPIENT: Jennifer Brown

School counseling programs play a vital role in ensuring students are provided the support they need to enroll in and complete college - a key component to Michigan meeting our Big Goal - 60 percent by 2025. The recipient of this award is an individual school counselor or school counseling program that has made significant strides in advancing the college readiness and enrollment supports and services to students which assists in moving the needle on critical postsecondary metrics. 

1. The award you received is for individuals who make significant strides in advancing the college readiness and enrollment supports and services to students, what lead you to pursue this kind of work?

I had the great fortune to have a high school Counselor who took the extra time to work with me during my senior year at Bullock Creek High School.  I was a first-generation student and had absolutely no clue what it would take to apply to college, take the ACT, and apply for scholarships.  Mr. JP LaCroix was there for me every step of the way.  Even more, fortune came my way when I was hired at my own high school, Bullock Creek, to work under JP.  He provided mentorship and guidance in working with juniors and seniors prior to his retirement.  I have a passion for meeting students' needs, whether it is emotional, social, or planning for life beyond Bullock Creek. I especially enjoy working with first-generation students and their families because I know that it can be a difficult road to college.

2. You are helping us draw closer to Goal 2025 as a college access champion. Can you tell us about one program or initiative you have pioneered or worked on in your role that has helped you make strides toward college readiness and attainment in your community?

Bullock Creek High School has a team of teachers, counselors and administrators dedicated to ensuring our students leave Bullock Creek with a plan.  I am proud of our initiatives, such as increasing our dual enrollment, starting an Early College Program, and most recently, our involvement with MCAN.  Through MCAN and our local LCAN, Midland County Career and College Access Network, Bullock Creek was able to secure a college adviser and receive a Reach Higher Grant.  This jump started our push toward Goal 2025.  Having a college adviser has increased our ability to meet one on one with our students who need it most.  I am proud that we have made significant strides toward reaching our goals.

3. We believe that college and credentials can be life changing to people across the state, why do you believe that is true in your community?

Many of our students come from first-generation, low-income families.  I believe it is important to challenge the students in our community to dream big and pursue their goals.  We can help our students to achieve their education and career goals by empowering them, providing mentorships, and equipping them with the tools necessary to be successful. Preparing our students to apply for a college degree, seek a certification, or join the military helps to them discover their passion.

Author: Jennifer Brown, School Counselor and Early College Coordinator, Bullock Creek High School
Posted: December 4, 2018

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