Newly appointed Clarke Central High School counselor Angelia Bruce sits in her office on Oct. 5. Bruce began working at CCHS one month into the school year, after moving from Madison County High School. “I’ve wanted to be in Clarke County for some time now,” Bruce said. “I think there are amazing things in Athens, and Clarke County schools are a lot more progressive than some of the rural schools in terms of policies, and that’s important to me.” Photo by Katie Grace Upchurch.
Newly appointed Clarke Central High School counselor Angelia Bruce talks about her experiences as a counselor, and her transition from working for Madison County High School to beginning her job at Clarke Central High School one month into the school year.
Designer Katie Grace Upchurch: How has your year been so far?
Clarke Central High School counselor Angelia Bruce: It’s been about a month, but it has been great. I’ve loved it.
KGU: How was your transition?
AB: Timing was not ideal in any way, shape or form, just because at my previous school, I had to start the year, go through all the schedule change processes — it’s just a very chaotic time of year — and then close up 15 years of stuff in Madison County and start here after the school year had begun, so there’s a lot to learn. So, I think that’s kind of been the biggest challenge, just figuring out how things are different, getting to know names and protocols and that sort of thing, but it’s gone really well.
KGU: What made you want to become a counselor?
AB: I actually had a counselor in high school who I thought was really cool. I was a first-generation-college student, and the first person in my family to graduate from high school and so he was very helpful to me as I was navigating the process of what came after high school. You know, I was a bright kid, I was in accelerated and AP classes and stuff, but I still didn’t really know what I was doing, so having that person there to help me with that was really helpful.
KGU: What are your goals for this year at CCHS?
AB: So, my primary goal for this year is to really get a good feel of how things work at Central, to just become a part of this team as much as possible and learn and see where I fit in. As a counselor, I’ll be doing all the same things here that the other counselors do, but this year I’m just going to try to hang back, figure things out and watch how everything works.
KGU: Are there any big differences that you have to adjust to coming here?
AB: Well, there’s a lot more support in Clarke County than there was in Madison County in terms of people. We have a behavior specialist here. We have a school social worker here on site. We have a school psychologist on site. There are a number of people here who we did not have in Madison County — there was no longer a graduation coach — so even just in this office, there are so many more support people. Plus, we have this amazing college adviser here — all these people here who do things that I kind of did at my previous school. It’s a pretty wonderful level of support that’s available here.
KGU: What were your reasons for coming to CCHS?
AB: I’ve wanted to be in Clarke County for some time now. I moved to Athens back in 2000, and I remember the first time that I stepped onto the grounds of Clarke Central, I really loved it — I had to do a project with my masters program — so I remember coming here and working with one of the counselors who was here at the time and meeting the kids and I thought, “This is a place I someday want to be.” I live in Athens, I think there are amazing things in Athens and Clarke County schools are a lot more progressive than some of the rural schools in terms of policies and that’s important to me. I also think, as a parent in the Clarke County School District, I have seen that Clarke County has some really amazing teachers, and I am just happy to be a part of that.