After 21 years ETHS counselor Leah Piekarz is retiring. She started her counseling career in Evanston and has stayed ever since. Her job consists of supporting students, academically and otherwise, introducing them to standardized testing and assisting with post-high school planning.
“I was a Spanish teacher in another district for nine years…[but] I did my counseling internship at ETHS,” Piekarz said.
In order to help students have the best possible working environment, counselors work with teachers, family members and administrators. In her years at ETHS, she has had many unforgettable experiences with the families of students.
“[After leaving ETHS,] I will miss interacting with people, colleagues, students, families,” Piekarz reflected. “I’m going to miss being able to touch their lives.”
In her time at ETHS, Piekarz has seen the many changes the school has gone through. She especially values ETHS’s willingness to make improvements and how invested everyone is in the high school. Piekarz credits this to it being the only public high school in Evanston.
“Every school has issues, but, here, people are really vocal and they care,” Piekarz said. “There are a lot of things we’ve talked about and made progress on and some things that we still need to work on.”
While working at ETHS, Piekarz has made friends with colleagues and enjoyed the chance to live in Evanston.
“I met my husband at ETHS, which has obviously been a great addition to my life,” Piekarz remarked.
Although her work is not always easy, it is fulfilling. As a counselor, Piekarz is very knowledgeable of the many programs and activities at ETHS. She advises students and teachers alike to get as involved as possible in order to best enjoy their time at the school.
“It’s going to be hard work, so it’s important to remember why you came here… [and students], it’s hard because you’re so young, but don’t be in too much of a rush to get to the next thing. Enjoy your time here,” Piekarz noted.
As of right now, Piekarz is unsure of what her exact plans are. She does, however, plan to eventually pick up volunteer or part-time work. Her immediate goal is to make the most of her newfound free time.
“I want to spend time with family and travel… In turns of a part time job or volunteering, I’m going to figure it out later.”