BY HELEN MALHOTRA, WEB NEWS EDITOR
Sandy Bean, Wilson’s renowned college counselor, is retiring after 16 years of hard work. Next year, if Wilson’s reduced budget allows, Patrice Arrington will be stepping up to take over the College and Career Center. This has been a place for students to get help with the college process for many years, but it’s unclear whether Wilson will have the money to fund a supervisor next year.
Bean has developed extensive knowledge of the college admission process through her job experience, and she has a unique understanding of which college is the best fit for individual students, and this knowledge sets her apart.
“I find it discomforting that Wilson hasn’t secured another person to replace her for next year,” junior Emily Morin says. “I think they need to make it a priority because a college counselor is really important for kids applying to college, especially those who haven’t had siblings that have already gone through the process or parents who are super involved.”
Counselor Patrice Maites emphasizes that the counseling staff has the qualifications to help students with the college entrance process. “We look forward to Wilson students continuing in the tradition of reaching their future college goals,” Maites says.
As Bean’s long hours as a college counselor come to an end, she has started planning for a relaxing retirement. Her grandchildren live nearby, and she is excited to spend time with them. Besides entertaining her grandchildren, Bean says, “I’m going to invite friends over on Sunday nights for big dinners because I never have time to entertain, I’m always too busy.” She also wants to take daily walks and learn how to blow glass.
While it might seem as if Bean is dropping her college counseling life, she plans to continue her private business called “College Choice for You.” It is currently just a small college guidance business, working with only five or six students at a time, but Bean is considering expanding it. She says she had a stronger incentive to expand her business a couple months ago, but as retirement gets closer, her main plan is to walk away from the job now and just see what she is inclined to do later.
In contrast to Bean’s decreasing stress level, the rest of the Wilson community is struggling to prepare for the loss of a dedicated college counselor. Arrington, who has been working with Bean for two years to help students with the college process, hopes the budget cuts leave money for a continuation of supervision of the College and Career Center. “I think the students are going to lose out the most if the budget cuts affect college counseling,” Arrington says. “The actual College and Career Center wouldn’t be going anywhere, but it would be a disservice to our students and community because it wouldn’t be the same.”
Bean has put in many long hours working with students and families to help them choose the college that best suits them, but she wishes the administration better understood what she was doing. “I’ve always had a sense that the people in administration didn’t realize that I was taking care of as much as I was,” Bean says, “that I was helping students with essays, that I would take nights and weekends to work with students. I wish people had known, but in the end it doesn’t matter. If you guys know, that’s all that counts.”
Unfortunately, rising seniors won’t get the chance to familiarize themselves with Bean’s hard work.
The consequences are going to have the biggest impact on the kids whose families don’t have disposable income for private counseling or those who may be the first ones in their family to have the opportunity to go to college.
Bean says, “Will there be bumps? There will be bumps, but you know what? That’s the nature of life.” •
*This article appeared in the April 2015 issue of the paper
PHOTO BY LUC NIKIEMA