GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — During the first full week of February, school counselors from around the country are recognized for their contributions to the students they serve.

Local school counselors like Zulena Staton at Pitt Academy say one of her main goals every day when she walks through the doors is to make sure she makes time for her students, no matter what her schedule looks like.

“I think it’s very important for others to know that they may not see all the work we’re doing behind the scenes,” Staton said. “So sometimes they might see us at our desk, but we’re doing a lot of that behind-the-scenes work and some of that difficult work also.”

Staton believes there should be different approaches to counseling this generation of children.

“A lot of times we have a lot of paperwork, we’re holding file fours, problem solve team meetings or intake meetings, so if we could get some help and support in getting some of that paperwork, that would allow us and free us to do a lot of direct services whether that’s individual small groups,” Staton said. “But students need us for that direct support.”

While school counselors across the country every day are making sure they’re supporting their students, it’s important that they find ways to take care of themselves too.

“I love walking outside when it’s a beautiful day,” Staton said with a laugh. “Also sometimes just resting, watching your favorite shows, your favorite movies.”

On a state level school counselors are being recognized for their hard work and devotion in our school systems. Gov. Roy Cooper made a stop at B. Everett Jordan Elementary School in Graham, recognizing Meredith Draughn as the 2023 National School Counselor of the Year.

On social media, the Governor posted this message: “School counselors are a critical part of creating supportive and inclusive learning environments.”

Click here for more information on National School Counselor Week.