Counseling our future

Counselors help students plan for their futures–whatever those futures may be


“Our school is extremely lucky for the size of school that we offer a lot of classes that students can earn college credit,” said counselor Susan Leadholm. 

Throughout high school, students have different opportunities to take college classes. During yearly meetings with the counselors, college classes are discussed, and so are other things like grades and required classes. Each grade-level meeting has a specific purpose.  

“[In] ninth grade, we always meet with right away And then you should start kind of exploring and seeing what classes or careers might be of interest to you,” said Leadholm.

Sophomore year meetings include a focus on graduation requirements and state test scores that have been taken so far. “Junior year, we meet to talk about college visits career ideas and choices, and we really hammer the senior schedule,” said Leadholm.

During the senior year meetings, a variety of things get taken care of, whether joining the military or applying to college. 

“So our goal really is we want students to at least pursue some sort of post-high school, training, education, just so that they can see what’s out there,” said Leadholm.

It’s the counselors like Leadholm’s job to help lead students to their wanted future careers. Once you figure out what you like and don’t like, they help you take the first steps.

Austin Dolesy graduated from Black River Falls High School in 2018. He is currently working for his family’s plumbing company called Halverson Plumbing in Black River Falls. 

“Once I had mentioned that I wanted to go into plumbing, they actually did help me out with tech schools and stuff like that,” said Austin Dolesy.

College isn’t the only option after high school. Some jobs don’t require any secondary education. 

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, 46 percent of new college graduates have gotten a job that didn’t necessarily need a college degree. 

 “I just feel like they so heavily promoted [college]. That was what I felt like was the only option I had,” said Alli Zilmer.

Alli also graduated from Black River Falls High School in 2018. She is majoring in therapeutic recreation and minoring in youth at risk at UW-La Crosse. Right now, she plans on finishing out her last year of college and then working for her dad’s forestry business. 

Counselors have to take into consideration each family and the student’s different values and concerns. 

“We don’t push the military; that’s really because that’s a moral and family discussion, and there are families that actually write that they do not want their child to speak to her recruiter. And that’s a box that they check. And so then, we’re not even able to talk about that,” said Leadholm.

It doesn’t matter what future you decide; Whether that’s the military or college, the conversation needs to happen because soon each student will be working. 

 “We need people to be thinking about it and have a plan. And I’m not saying that every student needs to know what they want to be. But they at least need to have an idea of even what they don’t want to be so that they can rule things out, and they could go to wherever they want to go to school and at least dabble in something and help them kind of figure it out,” said Leadholm.