By Alexis Baird ’18, Anthony Tran ‘18 and Yihua Huang ‘18
Mrs. Tatiana Rodriguez is the new Spark Counselor after Mr. Troy Sealey transferred to another school last year. She is involved in giving health class lessons to provide students with information about drug related issues. Students can go to her office in room B52A and get advice from her whenever they need an adult in the school that is willing to listen.
SPARK stands for “Seeking Prevention Achievement and Reinforcing Knowledge.” The SPARK program is a location for students to meet with other students who have similar experiences. The purpose of SPARK is to educate students about drug abuse, healthy relationships, physical abuse, academics, and more.
On a regular day, Mrs. Rodriguez has a schedule which consists of her going to classes and sharing her knowledge about drugs, alcohol, and pregnancy prevention. She also shares the type of consequences that will come if someone encounters any abuse addictions. Other than classroom sessions, she also does individual sessions and group sessions in her office.
What’s good about this program is that it is extremely confidential; Ms. Rodriguez declares that the information discussed in the program is secret. The SPARK program endorses an open door policy; so all students are welcome to express their ideas and concerns freely. Student participation is voluntary and can be withdrawn by notifying Ms. Rodriguez.
Jonathan Beralus ’18 said, “ Mrs. Rodriguez counseling is helpful, and it provides troubled students with resourceful facts that can help them. I like the one on one talks because it’s good to have an adult that you can talk to in the school.”
Before arriving in September of last year, she used to work at the Children’s Aids Society in Harlem, New York. She also had experience working in a drug treatment facility that dealt with adults who were drug addicts. She explained how different the experience at her old job was from now.
Mrs. Rodriguez said, “My experience has been excellent. It’s been a pleasure meeting students from different grades, personalities and my staff. My experience from before is different from what I have to deal with now because I used to deal with 11-21 year old kids. Now, all I have is high school students where there is less of a need for behavioral management.”
Her childhood vastly influenced her career. Experiences with her closest friends made her want to bring awareness to these causes.
Mrs. Rodriguez said, “ I had a best friend and one of her brothers committed suicide and her mom did not know what was going on with her son. I realized the best thing she could’ve done was to take them counseling because of family drama.”
In the future she plans to continue counseling and stay in this field to educate people all around.