Call to Cope with Counselors

By Fatima Naysa

Artwork by Sabeena Ramdarie

Guidance and Mental health resources are eminent within the building, but it all starts with the teachers and staff.

With the ongoing pandemic, mental health has been a growing precedent within society. There are now so many uncertainties in daily life with the COVID virus. The new strains have recently affected many students, school and learning platforms, and many students have reported being more stressed out. To combat this issue, the school has organized a variety of events and organizations to help students feel comfortable and also feel like they can reach out to staff and counselors.

Since day one, teachers and guidance counselors told the students to reach out to them when needed.

“Let's say if anyone needs help with classes or if someone at home is sick and they’re worried, needing someone to talk to, I'm there for them, to listen, to help whenever they need support,” orchestra teacher Ms. Tomkiw said.

Teachers have taken the time to go over mental health in their class, incorporating interactive activities as well. Last year, guidance counselors sent out motivational messages every Monday.

Whether it’s an emotional concern or an issue with family or friends, we are here to help students choose the best option for the situation...”

“Our role as school counselors is multi-faceted. We’re available and able to address all students’ social, emotional and academic needs on a daily basis. We assist in answering questions about school activities, athletics, clubs, honor roll and high school graduation requirements. In addition, we help students explore their strengths and discover talents while providing information about jobs, careers, colleges and vocational schools. Perhaps our most important role is assisting students in decision-making skills and solving personal problems. Whether it’s an emotional concern or an issue with family or friends, we are here to help students choose the best option for the situation,” guidance counselor Mr. Barbieri said.

Every year, the Student Council, staff and clubs organized many events such as Coping Day and No Name-Calling Week. Even though last year was remote/hybrid, many students enjoyed coping day.

“Coping Day is the day we learn different methods to cope with stress. I remember in social studies we colored and did fun puzzles on websites. I felt very calm after,” eighth grader Rifaya Khan said.

No-Name Calling Week was also an event held by the school in the month of January, to promote anti-bullying. Every morning and afternoon, Ms. Katz and other students read poems that inspire different methods of coping with bullying and anxiety.

Recently, the SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) club was reinitiated, too. It was started in order to provide an open space for students. Like a therapy circle, it helps raise mental awareness among peers.

“We re-established the SADD club to help the students of New Hyde Memorial combat destructive decisions. While we don’t have all our events flushed out, we will be holding an activities week for March to promote against the use of drugs, and we will have many other activities planned for the school. Our club will be holding a meeting soon and will inform you about any finalized events that we will come up with afterward. Our members are excited to help our community combat destructive decisions,” senior Annabelle Chan said.