The Falcon Voice

Counselor Spotlight – Ms. Larson

Zoe Johnson, Journalist

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Ms. Larson is the newest counselor at Catalina Foothills. She started at the beginning of this year and she has already found her place here. “It’s a great place,” she said, and when she was asked where she saw herself in ten years she said, “Hopefully still here.” Ms. Larson is extremely passionate about what she does as well as the impact she can have on the students she gets to work with.

She started out teaching English in the TUSD district in Arizona. After teaching English in the TUSD district, she found herself wanting to be more involved in the lives of the students she saw unfolding on paper. She recalls grading her students’ papers and being able to see how they changed over the year through their writing. Ms. Larson decided she wanted to pursue a counseling degree because it would enable her to gain a more personal view of the changes she saw. She knew counseling was for her when she started taking the classes necessary for the degree. The classes included discussions on people’s habits, family dynamics, gender subjects, and more. She explained that one of the issues that stood out to her was poverty. “Poverty is harder on a child than anything else … it is so hard to overcome the hurdles in place for those living in poverty.” By learning about these issues in the discussion based classes, she found herself wanting to help students who faced these difficulties push past them and be successful.

One of the major counseling jobs she had was when she worked at Pima Community College helping trade students with various skills. For three years she worked at Pima and helped trade students find shadow opportunities, create resumes, register for programs, and learn important interviewing skills, and gain employment. Trade students are typically first generation college students and she believes that “the United States has made them seem not as smart as our four-year college students” when in reality they need major skills and intelligence. Because of the stigma surrounding trade students there has been a decline in the number of them entering trade programs.

Even though she has seen students fail, she states that students are the very people who inspire her. By working in high school counseling she gets to see students who are driven and have a lot of grit even if they are faced with problems in their life. “I’m in awe of student’s maturity,” she said and explains that technology is a part of where this maturity comes from. Social media and the information students can gain from the internet allows them to have more confidence when it comes to school. She stated that when she was in high school less people pursued college because they did not know about the options they had. “People didn’t know about FAFSA or the other financial aid options that there were” and thus, less believed they could go. Now a days she sees more students using the resources they have to pursue a higher education.  

Overall, Ms. Larson takes her work very seriously. In fact, instead of viewing what she does as a “job” she says she views it as a career. “Love what you do … enjoy it everyday because you don’t want to be miserable.” She said she viewed the jobs she held in high school and in college as “jobs” while what she does now is her “career”. The importance she puts into what she does comes out in the passion she has and the willingness she has to help other people succeed. Counseling to her is her career, but it has obviously become a part of who she is. She is an extremely caring person, who wants to help all of those around her. She loves working with students and parents while here at school, and in her free times she said she spends time with her stepkids and her dogs. She has multiple rescue dogs and said, laughing, “I want another one, but I really shouldn’t”. Ms. Larson is caring, passionate, experienced, and overall a great addition to the counseling department here at Catalina Foothills.

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Counselor Spotlight – Ms. Larson