School counselors share ‘ever-changing job’ of helping students

February 8, 2019 | 3:22 am

Updated February 7, 2019 | 10:39 pm

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Christie Fogle was a teacher for 10 years before changing her career path and becoming a school counselor. Kim Docimo was a teacher in her fourth year when she decided to make a change and follow her calling as a school counselor as well. The reason both women chose their career paths falls under a similar, yet noteworthy, notion — they found a passion in helping their students, and they wanted to extend their guidance to as many students as possible.

National School Counselor Week 2019 runs Feb. 4-8, and Fogle and Docimo are only two of Owensboro Public School’s full-time school counselors. Fogle works with students at Owensboro High School while Docimo works with students who attend Owensboro Middle School’s South campus.

“I knew I wanted to help more students and reach more students,” Fogle said. “It has really opened things up for me.”

Docimo, who’s been a counselor for 10 years now, said that as a fifth-grade teacher she found her students willingly and openly communicated with her, and she enjoyed hearing them share their thoughts and stories.

“I found they opened up to me. They told things that were going on in their lives, and I wanted to support them,” Docimo said. “I was amazed at their resiliency.”

Fogle said that in her years working as a school counselor, she’s seen a completely different realm to the lives her students live.

“When I was in the classroom, I thought I knew some of the challenges with students, but when I came down here I saw things in a whole new light,” Fogle said. “Those are some of the tougher moments.”

Not only do school counselors help students navigate through grief and trauma, Fogle and Docimo both said the job is ever-changing.

“No two days are ever the same,” Fogle said. “We have to be very, very flexible.”

“Everyday is different as a school counselor,” Docimo said. “You never know what happened to someone the night before.”

Fogle and Docimo have worked hard to better their students’ lives in a number of ways. Fogle will be hosting the first ever OHS Senior Job Fair on April 12. Fogle planned and designed the job fair so that students who aren’t attending college will be given the chance to meet with businesses from across the area and see all of the different workforce avenues out there.

“I contacted 50 businesses and reached out to them,” Fogle said. “I don’t want all of those students to go out and get stuck with a minimum wage job after this. I want them to have other options.”

In Docimo’s line of middle school counseling, her students aren’t focused on what happens after high school, but they do have their own conflicts and hardships they deal with. Docimo has worked hard to help students in this age group who often battle with popularity, cyberbullying, peer pressure, feeling out of place and a number of other things.

“They all have experiences and stories to share. Technology can present issues. We provide small groups at lunchtime, only as needed. In those lunch groups, for one or two days a week, these girls eat lunch with me,” Docimo said. “We talk about different things, like how to work through social issues and other things like that. I work with teachers to find out who needs these things.”

Both counselors are grateful for being given a chance to help the students at their respective schools.

“I would love to be an advocate for these kids. I feel incredibly blessed that I’ve had the opportunity to get into this role,” Docimo said.

“We are so very fortunate that our kids will come down to the counselor’s office,” Fogle said. “I’m lucky — I’m so lucky that I have this job and get to work with these wonderful kids.”

February 8, 2019 | 3:22 am

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