Help for high-schoolers

Laguna Beach High School has welcomed three new staff members.

Nichole Rosa, David Reska and Angela Pilon were hired in the fall as the school's new counselors.

Principal Joanne Culverhouse said she's received a tremendous amount of positive feedback about the three counselors and is continually impressed by their ability to work as a team.

The counselors handle three duties domains: academic counseling; career development; and personal, emotional or social issues.

The trio, along with Culverhouse, also launched the Counselor's Corner newsletter this year.

"When I got here it was very clear that parents needed a link to the high school," Culverhouse said.

The newsletter is sent via email to parents and keeps them up to date on academics, career and college readiness, and any social issues counselors might want to touch on.

Parents can sign up for the newsletter on the high school's website,

Reska came from Rancho Buena Vista High School in Vista. He has a master's in education and school counseling from Loyola College in Maryland and did his undergraduate studies at Niagara University in New York.

Rosa formerly worked at Northwood High School in Irvine and has a master's in counseling from Cal State Northridge and a bachelor's from San Jose State University.

Pilon, who has a master's in educational counseling from the University of Redlands, previously worked at San Gorgonio High School in San Bernardino.

"Laguna was the epitome of what I was hoping to find in a counseling position," said Rosa, 30. "I interviewed and there was no hesitation."

Pilon, 36, said the position was one of the only five she found open, and she immediately knew it was the right fit.

"I absolutely love my colleagues. I couldn't ask for anything more in our counseling department," said Pilon.

Rosa said the job is made easier by the eager involvement of parents at the high school.

No day is the same, the counselors said, whether they are discussing grades with students, helping them take a personality profile or talking to them about a problem with friends.

"From college applications to career exploration, I dig every aspect of my job," Reska, 34, said in an email. "But I have a particular interest in working with special education, at-risk students and those who struggle to find their place on campus."

Rosa said she looks to a quotation on her wall to stay grounded. It reads: "It's not what we say or do but being present in the moment that matters."

"That's my motto. Being present for the students is No. 1," she said.

The school doesn't have frequent issues with bullying, a familiar topic in the news lately, but Rosa said they encourage all their students to feel open and comfortable talking to them about any issue that may be bothering them — academic or personal.

"I always tell them you're never in trouble in the counselor's office," she said. "No matter what you say we're going to help you through it."

Twitter: @joannaclay

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