Interview w/ Mrs. Barrick, Counselor

In this episode of staff interviews, we’ll be taking an inside look at Mrs. Barrick’s world here on campus! Let’s learn more from her perspective as a counselor and some advice she has to offer.

INTERVIEWER: How many students do you have on your caseload this year?

A cool Scotmen figure in Mrs. Barrick’s room!

BARRICK: Oh! Let me check Synergy. I currently have 385 kids on my caseload.

INTERVIEWER: How does this compare to other years?

BARRICK: It’s about what I’ve had recently. But, in 2017/2018 I had 785 kids!

INTERVIEWER: So it’s a lot less!

BARRICK: Yes, a lot less! Thank goodness!

INTERVIEWER: How has having such a large amount of students affected your work methods? Do you ever wish you had fewer students to focus on each one better?

BARRICK: Absolutely! The fewer students I have, the more opportunities I have to see more kids!
So I feel like if you have almost 800 kids, it’s wild! Of course, it’s better to have less than 400. Students only have 186 days of instruction. If you do the math, I can only give a kid less than half a day a year!
When I had 785 kids I was not even giving them a quarter of a day of one-on-one time per year. It makes a big difference!

INTERVIEWER: Are there certain chunks of time that are busier than others? Like, the beginning of the year and the end of the semester. If so, how do you handle them?

BARRICK: The beginning of the school year is really busy because we are settling people in. Graduation time is also SUPER busy — getting seniors out, making sure everyone is ready for summer school, and bringing in the 8th graders to come to be 9th graders. That is always busy!
*Mrs. Barrick gets a phone call* I will answer that later!

INTERVIEWER: *Laughs* What is the #1 reason for you to call a student out of class to discuss with you?

BARRICK: If they [the students] ask! I mean there’s not a #1 reason, but I spend a lot of time doing educational planning and deciding what they’re going to do — if they fall behind, helping them get on track, and then to the kids who are on track, talking about where they would like to go next.

INTERVIEWER: On the flip side, what is the weirdest/rarest reason you’ve had for calling a student out of class?

Mrs. Barrick has a bunch of college flags!

BARRICK: The most intriguing was when I called a kid out so he could have a Zoom [session] so, he could tell his junior high teacher that he had gotten into Brown. So, we set up a secret zoom for him! That is the weirdest thing I’ve ever done.

INTERVIEWER: From a counselor’s perspective, what kind of courses or clubs make for a fulfilling high school experience? Is there any “must-take” or “must-do” class or activity?

BARRICK: I think that “must-dos” for success would be math — I think getting good at math will help you in the future no matter what. I actually use Algebra! I hate to admit that. I think Psychology is a great class to take because you really learn about how the human mind works and that’s really important! But, I also think that finding something that will move you [is just as important]. And of course — history! Super important! Best classes ever! And Government is great, but that’s a former History teacher telling you that. But Government’s important because you need to know how the world works and how you can keep yourself safe in it.

INTERVIEWER: What is your counseling philosophy?

BARRICK: Every kid has the ability to graduate if they want to. Every kid who wants to go to college should go. And if they don’t want to, where do they want to go [and] helping a kid find that is important to me.

INTERVIEWER: If you could shout out another counselor you work with, who would it be and why?

BARRICK: I think right now it would be Mrs. Barrera because she has been stepping in to be a sub and has done such a great job!

But really I work with the best team in the Kern High School District! I got the best team!

*Interviewer pauses to think*

It’s true! I really have the best team and I’ve been lucky — this is an incredible group of people!

INTERVIEWER: We know that a few of your students have graduated and come back to work with you as colleagues — other counselors or teachers on campus. What do you think about this?

BARRICK: Well, Mrs. Martinez was actually my counselee and she sits in the office that I was in when I had her as a student! And, we have a lot of teachers who I was the counselor for — Mr. Prasser, Mrs. Moore, and Mrs. Martinez [math teacher] — I was their counselor and I’m really proud to work with them!

Mrs. Barrick looking suave in her younger days!

INTERVIEWER: It’s like a proud mom moment!

BARRICK: Yeah, it is! You know, like, I got to watch them do the things that helped them get here!

INTERVIEWER: We also hear that networking is important to you. Could you give me some networking advice, like how you joined your sorority?

BARRICK: *Laughs* My sorority! Well, that was in college! It’s just a really important way for you to do some social stuff as well as some community service. You join it when you go into a four-year college. There are different fraternities and sororities all over. I happen to be with Phi Sigma Sigma and I was an advisor for 25 years and traveled all over the United States for them and it’s been a really important part of who I am.

This framed image is of Mrs. Barrick’s sorority: Phi Sigma Sigma!

Mrs. Straw who subs here a lot of the time is actually my sorority sister and we were chapter officers together!

INTERVIEWER: What is a responsibility you have that many students don’t know about?

BARRICK: I have the responsibility of keeping kids safe! I also run the Teen Parent Group on campus that works with kids who have children! And, I help our pregnant students and any of the fathers as well.

INTERVIEWER: Our final question. What is Highland High School to you?

BARRICK: It’s a place where I think kids get an opportunity to find their dreams!

BARRICK: Oh no I’m too old for that! I’m slower than speed!

Cat or dog?


UC Berkeley or UCLA?


Ivy league or liberal arts?

Ivy leagues are liberal arts! (Interviewer looks over to the question writer and says ‘Oooo she got you with that one!‘)

AP or dual enrollment?


Pineapple on pizza?

Absolutely with Jalapeños!

There you have it! Mrs. Barrick attests to the uniqueness of Highland and what a wise counselor can do. Thank you for your time and dedication, Mrs. Barrick! We hope that all of you “first in line” students (with last names A-Carb) recognize and cherish having a counselor as selfless as Mrs. Barrick. However, if you are not a student assigned to Mrs. Barrick, her impact is still immeasurable from her several workshops to the in-class presentations. Definitely do take advantage of her advice, and next time you see Mrs. Barrick, be sure to extend warm gratitude!

Interviewed by: Yunus A.

Edited by: Valerie Ruiz

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