Student Innovation Team’s Exciting Plans to Redesign the Counseling Office


All Art Courtesy of Curtis Bird

Karen Rose, Staff Writer

Student Innovation Team is a group at MHS that works to create a better school environment and a better experience for all who spend their time here. Members dedicate themselves to a year-long project on a topic of their choice, ranging from safety issues on Frontage Road to the wellness of students. Mara Hansen, Kaelin Hansen, and Curtis Bird are members of this team, and they have an important goal in mind: giving the Counseling Office a makeover. So, how are they going about this, and why is it necessary?

“I remember sitting in one of the chairs lined up against the wall and feeling like I was at the doctor’s office,” recalled Hansen.

“It can be hard to talk about personal problems sometimes, but the last thing we want is a student to shy away from help to avoid additional discomfort – especially in a space where you should feel anything but. I feel really fortunate to have such a wonderful counseling staff that is always there for us, and I think they would benefit from a new space as much as the students in our building would,” Hansen said.

So what changes can we expect from this Student Innovation Team group?

They started with the obvious: the walls and the furniture. Rather than having rigid rows of chairs, they plan on providing a variety of seating options that can assist students needs and preferences, like whether they want to sit alone or with their peers.

Then, when talking to the counseling staff about repainting the walls, they proposed the idea of a mural. They brainstormed some ideas and hung them in the office in question. Art Courtesy: Curtis BirdThis allowed students to vote on their favorite mural design, as well as what type of music they’d like playing in the waiting area. Even simple changes can change the atmosphere dramatically, and this group hopes their ideas will do just that, especially in a positive and comfortable way.

Jennifer Stout, a counselor here at MHS, shared her hope for students to find comfort here.

“Counselors are here to help support you, to get to know you, and to help celebrate your success,” she said. “We want the Counseling Office to be a place that is welcoming and supportive for all!”

Student input in these types of projects is important; it gives them a chance for their voices to be heard and helps to make direct change for not only themselves but for many to come. This will be an important change for the Counseling Office in creating a more welcoming environment where all students can feel comfortable.