Meet The Counselors


EDHS Counselor Mr. Hickman

Counselors find joy in helping students through hectic workload

By Claudia Juarez (photo slide below)


There’s much more going on in the counseling department than sometimes meets the eye of student walking in to get a schedule change. El Dorado High School’s counselors live a life beyond daily paperwork and student meetings. For many Aztecs, it’s expected that their counselor know everything about them, from their academic progress to their career prospects. However, do the students of El Dorado know anything about the guides who are expected to know everything about them?


There are seven counselors that oversee the entire student population. Prior to becoming counselors, they were regular teachers working in different schools. El Dorado’s lead counselor, Sonia Ugarte, used to be an English teacher.


“The success are worth the stresses,” Ugarte said as she explains her hectic work routines. “But being able to interact with teens and helping them create another chapter in their lives is worth it all.”


Ugarte – who was inspired to become a counselor by her students – has been a counselor for the past 16 years alongside Sylvia Gonzalez. Gonzalez was previously a reading teacher that has been counseling for 23 years.


“Before you act, listen; before you react, think; before you quit, try,” Gonzalez said. “It’s a demanding career with loads of paperwork, but I love the challenge.”


Similarly, both Gonzalez and Marvin Hickman wanted to help students in a different way, so they pursued a career in counseling.


“You can’t give up, you have to persevere,” Hickman said. “It’s always rewarding to see students with problems being happy again.”


Hickman, who has been counseling for four years, was a special education teacher before delving into the counseling world.


“The team is what keeps us going,” he explained. “The jokes and the environment is what makes this such a wonderful workplace.”


Sharing Hickman’s opinion, Mary Golden — who has 13 years of counseling — used to be an English teacher and a Blackjack dealer during college.


“The team really does help when you have over two hundred students to take care of,” Golden said. “They provide advice and remind us that we are doing what we truly love.”


Golden became a counselor to help others and is proud to know that she has helped teens in tough situations.


“It’s in our hands that we hold the future. Let’s guide them with dignity and respect towards the correct path of success,” said Claudia Preciado, yet another member of the counseling team.


While prioritizing supports Preciado’s journey throughout the counseling world, Alma Barrios says that hobbies like cooking help her maintain her hectic career.


“Pressure can either burst a pipe or create a diamond,” Barrios said.


Barrios, much like Hickman and Preciado, say that the hardest problem as a counselor is having students that either have personal problems or are being abused.


“However, making sure that students are safe is the most rewarding part of this job,” Barrios said.


Now, the most recent addition to El Dorado’s counseling team is Guillermo Herrera, who was a football coach and social studies teacher.


“Failure is not an option,” he said. “Though, support from my loved ones has given me the strength to continue forth with my career.”


Herrera has only been a counselor for six months, but explains how difficult it is not being able to help every student.


“I try to help as many students as I can,” Herrera explained. “Assisting students with their academic goals makes any counselor proud to be in this career.”
Ultimately, all of El Dorado’s counselors agree that although the career is stressful, the benefits outweigh the workload.

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