Ms. Chirinos Steps into Role as New IB Counselor

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Renee Sang

Ms. Chirinos is Seminole High's newest IB counselor.

Renee Sang, Co-photography manager

School counselors play a large role in many students’ lives, and this year IB students will transition from Mrs. Craft, counselor from 2002 to 2016, to Ms. Erika Chirinos.

Although only recently moving to Seminole, Chirinos is both qualified and prepared for her new position, as she has nine years of previous experience working with students in Miami-Dade county with a Masters’ degree in Counseling Education. Chirinos’ interest in counseling stemmed from an absence of one during her own experience as a student, fueling a desire to build strong foundations with the students she works with.

Chirinos recounts, “I think I saw my counselor once or twice during my middle school years, and at that time the issues that middle-schoolers go through is a lot about relationships, and that portion covers the development of students [such as] their personal development and their interpersonal skills.”

Although becoming a counselor for the IB program entails many technical responsibilities, such as organizing schedules, managing testing, and mentoring students to graduate, Chirinos is also highly invested in building an individualized connection with students. Coming from a multicultural background changes her perspective in a way that helps gear how she counsels as well.  Ultimately, having been raised in 3 different countries, as well as being bilingual reveals that she is engaged in the job with an open and experienced mindset.

Ms. Judy Gresham, the IB office secretary, notes that although Chirinos has a different style than Ms. Craft, students should be both prepared and excited to get to work closely with her.

Gresham notes that “You’ll find her to be understanding, but she does believe that kids need to take responsibility. She just says it in a different way than Mrs. Craft did.”

Chirinos admits she is excited to come into classrooms and talk with students as they plan their high school years and continue their tertiary education.

Students who are worried about the year ahead and are in need of advice on what to expect, Chirinos compares herself to her own teenage years and advises, “It’s okay if you fail, [because] you know that is a learning experience. Nothing has to be set in stone, so you know there is an opportunity to make things better, there is [always] an opportunity to change your mind;  you can go a different route. Life is not a straight line, you meander through. Sometimes you make mistakes, you go back three steps and then you move forward, and it’s all about your determination, your positive attitude, how you approach things in life, and I think that that’s one of the big things.”