Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight Carolyn Yegen

I could not be more humbled and honored to receive the MSCA 2018 Counselor of the Year award.  To be recognized before my peers, a gathering of Montana school counselors who continually inspire me is a distinction I could never have imagined.  

              I have been blessed for 15 years to work alongside incredibly hardworking teachers, staff, students and families. Amazing individuals,  young and old who have shown me through their daily struggles, successes and determination how to be a better school counselor and more importantly a better person. I have just recently completed my twelve- year at McKinley Elementary in Billings, Montana and I continue to learn. McKinley Elementary is a Title One school in downtown Billings, Montana. We are classified as an urban school and are 100% free and reduced. Our 280 students come from varied cultural and economic backgrounds. 23% are Native American, 10% Hispanic, 7% Black and 59% White. We deal with extreme transience, annually close to 50% of our students will not be enrolled for an entire school year. During 2017-2018, 12% of our students were classified as homeless during the school year. Many of our McKinley families face housing and food insecurities, addiction issues and incarceration. However, in spite of all of our differences and challenges McKinley is a successful learning institution, a place where our students feel safe and are able to become their best academically, emotionally and socially.

       While  I am incredibly honored to be the 2018 Montana School Counselor I feel I must share this honor with all of my McKinley family as I would not be the counselor I am without them.
 
~I share this honor with all the classroom teachers, administrators and specialists who have modeled successful teaching strategies throughout the years.(My weekly classroom lessons have come along way since the first time I walked into a kindergarten classroom, clutching a puppet ,with no idea what I was going to do with a classroom of 5 year old’s for 30 minutes. Classroom teachers are my heroes!)
 
~I share this honor with the countless students who have taught me what true resilience and determination look like. The students who face daily crippling  challenges yet are able to leave their struggles at my office door and open themselves to new academic, and social learning opportunities.
 
~I share this honor with the many families I have watched overcome addiction and incarceration, the families who through grit and determination are able to build a new healthy foundation for their young families.
 
~ I share this honor with our countless community volunteers who give their time and love to our McKinley children to help with reading, create a Christmas and simply give a young child some much needed extra care and attention.
 
~And finally I share this honor with all the school counselors who have taken the time to share case studies and lessons, picked up the phone when I needed to process about a child and inspired me through their daily
school counseling work.
 
I love being a School Counselor in Montana. I could not wish for a better way to spend my days. Ralph Waldo Emerson once stated,
“To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch
or redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived; This is to have succeeded.” Thank you for this award  and for the feeling that maybe, just maybe I just might be succeeding...just a little bit!