Losing School Counselor Will Be Devastating For Students

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Dear Mr. O’Brien:

I am greatly disappointed with the decision to eliminate the counselor position at Rim Country Middle School. The impact of Byron Quinlan being forced to leave this very important role will be far reaching. I understand that economic times are hard and there has been significant cutbacks made in Arizona with regards to education, but young adolescents are faced with many situations that need influence and direction from respectable adults.

In my short time in Payson, it is obvious that there are a large range of socio-economic situations faced by the young adolescents of Payson. This developmental time in young adolescents, when they are trying to fit in society and discover who they are, it is very important for them to have guidance that will help structure them into becoming functioning and productive adults.

Students need a forum to discuss any situations. Many adolescents do not feel comfortable in talking with their parents, but should be able to have someone to talk with and for Rim Country Middle School this was Byron.

I would like to take a moment to inform you just how influential Byron was with my daughter, who is in the seventh grade. We moved from Kansas City in the first part of March this year, right in the middle of my daughter’s school year. Although she was looking forward to the move, she still found it hard to leave Kansas City, her home of 13 years behind.

Her first day of school at Rim Country Middle School was terrible. She came home crying and distraught. She reported difficulties with other students and trying to fit in, but also reported that some classes were “just not acceptable.” She would go on to explain that there was no control by the teacher and kids were out of control, an environment that she could not learn in. I tried to convince her that it would get better, but to no affect. As the mornings would approach for going to school she would become almost inconsolable with regards to going to school, which was out of character for her. In fact, she missed some school out of refusal to go back under those given situations.

It was not until I contacted Byron Quinlan about her situation that I was able to make some headway with my daughter. He took the time to sit down with us to discuss her feelings and troubles that she was having at her new school. He worked with us and helped to hand-pick a schedule that would cater to my daughter’s desire to learn and excel at school. His arrangement of her schedule has allowed her to attend school on a regular basis without any refusal, enjoy school, and make new friends. In fact, she has continued to excel at school making all As this final quarter and was nominated by a teacher for placement in The United States Achievement Academy Yearbook after just three weeks at Rim Country Middle School.

I am 100 percent certain that if it were not for Byron, my daughter would have not had such a productive first year in the school district. It is because of him that life in my household has been free from drama and tears, and we have been able to enjoy our new home. If things had not improved, I would have had to consider alternative plans for her education that could have meant that she would return to Kansas City for school, without me. Had this happened, I would have been devastated to let her return without me, her mother. This too could have had far reaching implications for her emotions, education and future. She is now looking forward to the eighth grade here in Payson next year.

From my own experience with a young adolescent going through a difficult situation, losing Byron will be devastating for the students and families of Rim Country Middle School.

Suzanne Morse

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