With the exception of a few internships, this position with the College Advising Corps has been my first experience in the professional field. And I must say that the first experience continues to be absolutely wonderful! I was feeling afraid about moving to Sylva in August because I did not know anyone here; the school, the community, and the city itself were completely new environments. However, I immersed myself in my surroundings and have made so many friends within Smoky Mountain High, Western Carolina University, and even the local community. I am grateful for the opportunity to make an impact on the future of students and to further foster the College Advising Corps’ connection to Sylva as a whole.
Ms. Graning, the school principal, has been an absolute blessing to work alongside. I have also made really good friends with Ms. Cunningham, the Spanish teacher, and we often go on adventures together to enjoy the local atmosphere that Sylva offers. I would not be having such a pleasant experience if it were not for all the kind people who surround me at the school! I cannot think of a better place to live right now, and I am gracious for the acceptance and joy that I receive from my colleagues and students.
Despite the circumstances associated with Covid-19, I have most enjoyed meeting with my seniors. Hearing them talk about their dreams of college and careers gives me the energy to help them succeed for themselves. I enjoy being a source of guidance toward their individual goals and passions. It feels great when students let me know about their successes. Because I am a writer, reading, reviewing, and offering feedback on their college application essays has been so entertaining for me. I could not be in a better place than right now, and I look forward to continuing to see the progress of my students as they approach their lives after high school.
Compared to Boone, the mountains of Sylva tower over you, and they are all around the school. Nature makes me wonder if we are all smaller than we think we are. In order to have the most positive effect on the world we will leave behind, we must love others by building connections within the non-judgemental spirit that lives inside all of us. I am here to do that with my colleagues and students, and I hope you are as well. High school is merely a stepping stone toward greater ambition. No matter the student, mentoring the next generation to think through the same loving way is so important to understanding how to share and build upon each other’s potentials.
*Written by Adviser Arthur Cleary