On paper, the idea of a school counselor is someone who can assist in guiding students in their education, life, and career.
Like most counselors, our head counselor, Sherry Franklin fills this ideal, but she does more than fill it, she lived this ideal.
“I know what is out there. I know all the different kinds of industries that are out there – new and old,” Sherry said. “I know what kind of jobs are available, and I have a good feel for industry and the market place.”
Sherry has experience in psychology, advertising sales, technology startups, journalism, and hospitality – alongside her side jobs in floral design, photography, and softball coaching.
So while most people think the only official jobs they can hold in order to contribute to society fall into very general categories like doctor, lawyer and teacher, Sherry is here to tell you that you are terribly wrong.
“Most of my career was spent in sales,” she said. “But even in that position, my job in sales was to call on businesses and learn what they do and what is important to them.”
Therefore, on top of Sherry’s vast job experience, much of her career was focused on also understanding other people’s jobs.
While Sherry’s path to her present career as a counselor was long, she said without each step in her life she would not have ended up where she is today.
“It’s so weird how things work out,” she said. “How you think things didn’t work out, and then one day it all makes sense and it all comes together.”
Using this simple fact, Sherry motivates her students from the first moment they walk onto campus at Highlands.
“You can always let your disabilities, or your setbacks, or your past, or your upbringing, or your family, or your situation define you and get in the way of pursuing your ambitions,” she said. “My job is to help my students prove to themselves that whatever barrier has gotten in their way doesn’t have to define them.”
Sherry understands that creating a successful environment for students requires much more than just enrollment. She understands that each student’s basic needs must be met before they can be a successful student.
“I understand that being successful in school isn’t easy if you have other things happening outside of your school life,” Sherry said. “I know what it is like to go through hardship while attending school. I can really empathize with our students in that way.”
Therefore, Sherry, facilitates community resources for our students, through outside agencies, in addition to enrolling them in Highlands.
“A lot of our students don’t even know what they want to do because they are just trying to survive,” she said. “So first we are just trying to get them past that point. We want to make sure they have a stable living environment, some kind of support system, and that they feel safe.”
Sherry has also created a confidential community group amongst students called “Positive Direction.” This group meets once a week and supports each other while learning about psychological influences they all may be dealing with. A few of the past topics have included PTSD, co-dependent relationships, triggers for anger or substance abuse, and how to deal with anxiety or stress.
Sherry is a bright light in Highland’s main office, who is happy to lead any future student down the path to the first day of the rest of their life. By calling the main office, you may make an appointment with her to begin your enrollment.
“Being here creates a safe environment for our students because they belong and it’s something they can be a part of,” Sherry said. “It’s something that is bigger than me – bigger than all of us.”