Texas A&M University-Commerce and the Department of Counseling hosted a luncheon in Dallas on Thursday, October 20, to recognize school counselors and celebrate their vital role in the education system. The event honored counselors and mental health professionals from Desoto, Lancaster, Cedar Hill and Duncanville ISDs.
Professor LaVelle Hendricks, head of the Department of Counseling at A&M-Commerce, expressed, “Before, during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, school counselors and mental health professionals were at the forefront, addressing issues like depression, loneliness, anger management, behavior disorders, and other mental health concerns facing school districts and the communities they serve,” Hendricks said.
Dr. Cephas Archie, A&M-Commerce Vice President for Inclusion, addressed the 50 attendees with gratitude for their transformative work.
“You are our heroes, finding ways to use your research, experience and techniques to remove barriers that are most-often not visible to the eyes,” Archie said. “You have committed your lives to the well-being and advancement of others.”
He continued, “If you are not thanked on a regular basis for what you do and how you do it, then know today that this is our opportunity to stop and say, ‘We see you, and we are grateful for your advocacy.'”
Dr. Courtney Jackson, executive director of counseling services for Cedar Hill ISD, said the event was an amazing and enjoyable experience.
“This event was a huge success. We greatly appreciated being celebrated for the work we do as counselors,” Jackson said. “Thank you for acknowledging the challenges and hardships we have encountered post-pandemic to meet all of our scholars' trauma and mental health needs.”
Jackson said the event also provided space for attendees to network and learn more about advanced degree opportunities at A&M-Commerce. Several guests expressed interest in doctoral programs offered through the Department of Counseling and the Department of Higher Education and Learning Technology at A&M-Commerce.
Hendricks reported that many of the attendees graduated from A&M-Commerce, including Candace Minor-Chism, who works as a counselor for Cedar Hill ISD.
“A&M-Commerce prepared me to go into the education profession with an open mind and a strong desire to help our youth,” Minor-Chism said. “It felt really great to be honored by my alma mater alongside other school counselors and mental health professionals.”
View photos from the event and learn more about the Department of Counseling and Department of Higher Education and Learning Technology at A&M-Commerce.