The Student Voice of Prosper High School

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The Student Voice of Prosper High School

Eagle Nation Online

The Student Voice of Prosper High School

Eagle Nation Online

Counselor shares passion of guidance

Megan Howell provides support for students of Prosper
Erica Deutsch
As she converses with a student, Counselor Megan Howell helps those in any way she can from schedule changes to much larger issues. “It’s so great (that I get to) have real conversations,” Howell said. “I always say that once you’re one of my students, you’re always one of my students.” Student names are always confidential when a student visits a counselor.

As suicide-awareness month comes to a close, girls lacrosse head coach Morgan Alexander wants to make certain the importance of addressing the mental health needs of athletes continues to spread.

Connecting with students represents just one of the ways Megan Howell strives to improve and impact the lives of everyone she comes across.

Let’s get that spark back in your life,” Howell said. “(Let’s) help you feel better.” 

Howell serves as a counselor in the upper house for students whose last names start with ‘Gap’ through ‘Kid.’ This marks her second year as a counselor at PHS. Before she became a counselor, she taught kindergarten and first grade. She said she discovered that there’s so much more to it when it comes to a student’s academic life.

I wanted to be able to teach kids about character development and integrity,” Howell said. “I just really had a lot more focus on character traits and building relationships with kids in that way.”

The state of Texas has a requirement that those wanting to become counselors must be a teacher for three years. Howell first attended Texas A&M University, and then attended Amberton University to receive her counseling degree, all while working as a full-time teacher.

Everything happens for a reason and I’m just so grateful that I get to work with her this school year.

— Cherita Chatman

“The biggest challenge was probably just the time management because I enjoyed all my classes, but I was teaching full time,” Howell said. “I was also pregnant with my second child so that was like that was a big thing, and kind of took a lot of time because I also had a two-year-old at home, (however) it was something I enjoyed.”

Before working for Prosper High School, Howell served as a counselor at Windsong Ranch Elementary School. She began working here last year.

“Everyone was really surprised when I made that change, and they couldn’t wait to hear like what it was like. But, it’s not really that much different,” Howell said. “Honestly, at the high school level, there’s a lot more paperwork and schedules, and all that is a big deal, but people are people. Kids are kids. The complexity of the issues in high school are a lot bigger than in elementary school, but in the end, it’s not too different.”

Howell said she enjoys seeing each of her students grow as she guides them along the way so that when they leave PHS and go out into the world, they will be ready and equipped for what awaits them.

“Seeing you guys in your excitement and seeing how you handle situations is so great,” Howell said. “Last year, graduation was one of the best nights because having worked with the seniors and having a lot of them come in here you know, stressed or upset for different reasons and seeing that they did it, and they reached their goals. I always say that once you’re one of my students, you’re always one of my students.”

Junior Jemimah Jebakumar said Howell helped her in the beginning of the year when she had a conflict with her schedule.

“Instead of going the easy route and taking out one of my double-blocked electives and replacing it with one of my alternates, she reached out and informed me of my situation,” Jebakumar said. “We came up with a way where I didn’t need to remove my elective and allowed me to do it single-blocked. The impact she made is still present, since I am still in the class, and I am more grateful than ever.”

Howell said she wants to help everyone in every situation, but sometimes it can get challenging.

We’re just real honest people, and we got into this to help other people. You are here for a reason, and you have a purpose.

— Megan Howell

I want everyone to be happy and feel better, but some problems are even too big for me to handle,” Howell said. “I can help. I can talk to people and help them work through what they’re going through, but I can’t always fix everything. The hardest thing is to walk away, and you don’t really ever just walk away from it. Right? Because, I take that home with me, and it’s on my heart.”

Throughout her experience with counseling, she has learned to handle situations with grace.

“It’s taught me a lot about having grace, and approaching all kinds of different situations with grace because you never know what people are going through,” Howell said. “I just try to be that calm presence and try to put my counselor hat on even though I may not be at school, and just think how would I tell someone else to handle this situation, and then that’s how I would handle it for myself.”

Even with the slight alphabet changes in the students that she sees every year, Howell makes it one of her goals to get to know each and every one. She said she strives to accomplish this by implementing something called ‘minute meetings.’

“We sent out a Google Form, Miss Chatman, the AP, and I. We did that for our advisory kids,” Howell said. ” We had them just fill out information about themselves, and it helps us get to know them. We want to just call them in and talk to them literally for one or two minutes, and just put a face with the name and get to know them, and they can ask us questions.”

Assistant Principal Cherita Chatman said working with Howell has been a positive experience.

“The very first day I met her, I knew I was going to enjoy working with her because she’s just so positive,” Chatman said. “She’s just so energetic, you know, and she’s so knowledgeable. She’s very caring.”

Chatman went on to say how Howell goes the extra mile to get to know every one of her students better.

The impact she made is still present, since I am still in the class, and I am more grateful than ever.”

— junior Jemimah Jebakumar

“She knows all about the students, all about their families, and she makes very great connections with them,” Chatman said. “She is just such a great asset to this campus. Everything happens for a reason, and I’m just so grateful that I get to work with her this school year.”

According to Howell, sometimes the word “counselor” can be intimidating for some students and can cause them to hesitate to come to one of them.

“We’re just real honest people, and we got into this to help other people,” Howell said. “If there’s ever anything that we can do to help, just please come up here, and don’t be intimidated. We want you up here because we want to help. When you come up here, you also teach us a lot of things, so we can work together to work through whatever you need.”

This week of September 10 – 16 marks Suicide Prevention Week. On average, there are about 5,000 teens who commit suicide every year in the US. For those the ages of 10 to 24, it represents the second leading cause of death. About 20% of students report thoughts of suicide with 9% having made attempts to end their lives.

I would just want anyone who’s ever thought about that, or maybe considering that right now, to just remember that don’t ever give up hope,” Howell said. “Don’t give up hope on yourself. Don’t give up hope on any situation. Sometimes problems seem really big. Or, you seem like you lose that focus, but there really is a big purpose for your life. So come talk to someone, whether that be a friend, a parent, a trusted adult, a counselor, but come talk to someone. You are here for a reason, and you have a purpose.”

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About the Contributor
Erica Deutsch
Erica Deutsch, Feature Editor
Erica Deutsch, originally from Orlando, Florida, is a junior at Prosper High School. This is her second year working for Eagle Nation Online and she serves as the feature and entertainment editor. She adores photography and hopes to create a positive impact with her writing and podcasts. Outside of school, she enjoys playing guitar, watching movies, trying new baking recipes, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.
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