Sarah Altman ’02 came to Marian University to study education, but when she substitute taught a first grade class and witnessed a little boy feeling hopeless about his ability to succeed, Altman knew she wanted to explore a different side of education: school counseling.
This January—17 years later—Altman traveled to Washington, D.C. to be honored in a White House ceremony for school counselors. She was among 44 school counselors from across the country selected as semi-finalists for the 2015 School Counselor of the Year award.
As a part of her Reach Higher initiative, the first lady invited the 2015 School Counselor of the Year, finalists, and semifinalists to the White House to show school counselors appreciation for all of the hard work they do to put students on the path to and through college.
“That moment when you’re standing steps away from the first lady with hundreds of people and the media cheering for you and celebrating you, is very humbling and a moment I will not forget,” said Altman.
Now in her 10th year as school counselor at Sycamore Elementary School in Avon, Indiana, Altman’s days range from teaching lessens to entire classes about bullying to meeting individually with students to provide classroom and/or personal support. While there is no typical day, there is a common thread: support. Whether she is in front of thirty students, having lunch with five, or meeting with one, Altman is supporting her students and making their education and life experience better.
Altman is also president-elect of the Indiana School Counselor Association (ISCA), an organization that helps school counselors guide their students toward academic achievement, personal and social development, and career development to make today’s students become tomorrow’s responsible and contributing citizens.
The School Counselor of the Year program selects a winner and finalists each year based on several criteria: creative school counseling innovations, effective counseling programs, leadership skills, and contributions to student enhancement. Altman certainly fits the bill.
Congratulations to Sarah Altman on this exciting honor and thank you for your commitment to and leadership in school counseling!