NMC holds 13th Annual Counselors Conference

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NORTHERN Marianas College on Friday hosted the 13th Annual Counselors Conference at the Pacific Islands Club.

Seventy-four school counselors participated in the 13th Annual Counselors Conference on Friday at PIC-Charley’s Cabaret.
Among the presenters were PSS Distance Education program director Dr. Bobby Cruz and Da’ok Academy principal Jonathan Aguon.  Photos by Lori Lyn C. Lirio

Seventy-four counselors from private and public schools participated in this year’s event whose theme was “Setting the Sails toward Success.”

The conference helped prepare counselors to fully assist their students with all the available resources, NMC Student Success counselor Valerie Deleon Guerrero-Quitano said.

In his remarks, NMC Interim President Frankie Eliptico recognized the role of counselors in the education system. “They have a tremendous responsibility because they are on the frontlines of providing critical services to students, families, and the community,” he said.

The aim of the conference, he added, was to help counselors expand their tools and resources to increase their effectiveness and their impact.

Quitano said the conference discussed mindset growth, crisis counseling strategies to promote resilience, intervention for improved emotional intelligence, among other related subjects.

Dr. Bobby Cruz, Public School System Distance Education Program director, and Jonathan Aguon, Da’ok Academy principal, made a presentation on “mindset success.”

They examined the science behind the concept of the fixed and growth mindset and enumerated strategies for self-improvement and professional growth, and the impact of mindset on shaping the counseling practice.

For her part, licensed mental health counselor Dr. Jennifer Maratita identified the different types of trauma that students may experience; an overview of the impact of trauma on a student’s academic achievement and social and emotional development; the response and recovery phases of disaster and traumatic events; and the different crisis counseling strategies to promote resilience.

PSS mental health therapist Laura Kyonka talked about interventions that can improve emotional intelligence. These include activities that help children and youth learn to identify their emotional experiences, and communicate their feeling to others in a socially accepted way.

In between discussions, NMC presented various information about various programs of the college such as Adult Basic Education and earning college credits while still in high school.

When it was first held over a decade ago, Quitano said the counselors conference was a recruitment effort on the part of NMC.

She said the conference has evolved since then.

“In the beginning we had a smaller group. But as the years went by, we realized that there were many other things that we could also address as counselors like helping students recover from grief,” added said.

Eliptico acknowledged the NMC counseling staff who provided leadership in organizing this year’s conference.

Quitano said NMC is grateful to the participating exhibitors, including the Nutrition Assistance Program, the Division of Youth Services, the Garrett Lee Smith Youth Suicide Prevention Program, Karidat, NMC’s CNMI Area Health Education Center, Project PROA, NMC’s Learning Support Services, Systems of Care, CHCC-HIV/STD Program, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, the CNMI Scholarship Office, the Head Start program, and the NMC BUILD EXITO program.

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