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Home / Neighborhood / San Gabriel Valley / Pasadena Independent / Tandem College Counseling Team Proves Highly Effective

Tandem College Counseling Team Proves Highly Effective

by Pasadena Independent
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Front row, from left: Elena Buckley, Natalie Johnson, Sophie Brahos, Charlotte Anderson
Back: Courtney Kelly, Alex Eisele, Mary Patano, Sheila Roohan – Courtesy photo

There are many things that make Mayfield Senior School of the Holy Child Jesus unique. The school’s pedagogical method teaches to the whole child, recognizes and nurtures academic, athletic and artistic talents, instills faith-based ethics while creating a community of life-long support. Yet, there is something else thing that makes this grade 9-12 girls’ school stand out and that is their team approach to college admission counseling.
Ms. Lori Holtrust and Ms. Abigail Shaw, Mayfield’s College Counselors, have been working as team at Mayfield Senior School since Ms. Shaw’s arrival in 2009. Unlike most high schools, Mayfield does not split classes and assign them to an individual counselor. Instead, this duo works in tandem to council every student and ensures each receives attention, guidance and perspectives from both professionals. “We didn’t necessarily plan it this way,” said Ms. Holtrust, who began her career at Mayfield in 1994. “Our approach came naturally. We quickly discovered how well it worked and how much the students and parents appreciated it, so we decided to adopt this style.” The conversational, interactive approach allows for students and counselors to work in concert to find the best fit and opens up the lines of communication and trust. “Ms. Holtrust and I develop meaningful relationships with each student. We truly get to know their talents, personalities and get to the heart of each individual. Since we both interact with them, we can match them to colleges that will nurture their gifts and where we know they will be able to thrive, academically and spiritually,” said Shaw.
Holtrust and Shaw were asked to present on their unique style at the 70th annual NACAC, held in Indiana during September 2014. The NACAC Conference hosted over 6,000 college admissions counselors from across the country. Ms. Holtrust and Ms. Shaw presented to over 150 attendees on their style. “We were amazed at the reception we received,” said Holtrust. “To us it is just what we do, but to others, our double-perspective seemed to bring a fresh view to the traditional structure of a college counseling office.”
This pioneering approach is working well. Mayfield boasts 100% college acceptance. Although this is impressive and important, it is the lasting relationships that resonate with this duo. While in Indiana, Holtrust and Shaw caught up with Charlotte Anderson, Elena Buckley, Sophia Brahos, Alex Eisele Natalie Johnson, Courtney Kelly, Mary Patano and Sheila Roohan, all former Mayfield students who currently attend Notre Dame. “Our time spent with these young women was priceless. To see their joy, knowing that they are growing into future global leaders and that their experience at Mayfield fostered all of that, is why we do what we do,” said Holtrust.

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