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Kara Strode

Widespread Impact


“How can I help students and guide them to where they need to be?”

For one counselor, education isn’t confined to classroom learning alone.

Classrooms are everywhere. Whether it’s a space adorned with whiteboards and books or a setting where a kind, welcoming face helps empower us, opportunities to learn about the world (and ourselves) can present themselves in nearly any context. Kara Strode discovered early on that while traditional teaching wasn’t her ultimate calling, serving as a school counselor was her true vocation. Hailing from a long lineage of educators, her desire to be a counselor was evident even during her high school years: “When I was in high school, I always knew I wanted to be a counselor.” She honored that calling with relentless work and dedication.

Though Strode also served as a teacher and prioritized the welfare of her students, she felt she could assist them in other significant ways: “I found that I still enjoyed the counseling aspect of things. How can I help students and guide them to where they need to be?” To realize this vision, she returned to school to earn her master’s degree. Already a teacher and a part-time dean, Strode seized an opportunity when a counseling position became available. She knew she would need to invest numerous hours and work diligently to achieve her dream. Traditional school subjects were not unfamiliar territory for her.

Kara Strode has worked in a multitude of disciplines, including social studies, literature, and social health. At Waverly, she was always willing to step in wherever she was needed. For the last three years, she’s been aiding high school students in reaching their full potential. From guiding them through the college admissions process to promoting their mental and physical well-being, Strode’s impact is widespread. Her office features a couch, always available for the students who seek her guidance. Strode elaborates on the various needs of her students, “Sometimes they just come in because they need to vent and explode.” We’ve all experienced moments like these, and it’s comforting to know individuals like Strode exist who have followed their calling to assist us. She has built more than a mere rapport with her students; they genuinely rely on her. But what makes her so effective?

Humility plays a significant role. While Strode actively seeks to assist every student she interacts with, she acknowledges that no one can be an expert in every domain. When preparing her students for college and life beyond, she makes it a point to connect them with professionals in various disciplines. “I can’t be knowledgeable about everything,” she wisely notes. We could all stand to learn from her approach. She directs her students toward the paths they need to follow to achieve their ambitions. This humility, coupled with her eagerness to serve others, makes Strode the kind of person you’d want for advice and counseling.

Beyond emotional support, Strode is also pragmatic. She begins working on her students’ resumes as early as their freshman year, giving them a head start in life. She ensures that representatives from colleges and institutions visit her students, setting them up for success and informing them of future opportunities. Recently, she organized a trip for her junior class to attend a college fair, offering them firsthand exposure to various educational options. Strode also focuses on helping her students socialize in a broader context. She often remarks that “no question is dumb” when guiding her students on what questions are appropriate to ask. It’s small but powerful gestures like these that elevate Strode from an effective counselor to a truly impactful one. Through her help with test preparation and college readiness, she ensures her students venture into the world fully prepared, ready to take on challenges, and poised to be forces for good.

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