A guide to the new guidance counselor

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Mrs. Zavatsky hopes to become to her students what her guidance counselor was to her.  (Photo/Kayla Rubenstein)

A new face has joined the guidance office: ninth and tenth grade counselor Mrs. Kelley Zavatsky. Responsible for last names A through Go, Mrs. Zavatsky has previous experience with all high school grades from her eight years at Cardinal Gibbons. 

While studying at Springfield College in Mass., Mrs. Zavatsky focused on sports journalism because of her affinity for writing and sports. However, after working on the staff of the newspaper and broadcasting team throughout college, Mrs. Zavatsky realized journalism wasn’t the profession for her. 

Wanting to stick to humanities, Mrs. Zavatsky looked into teaching. “I switched over to English secondary education because I thought, ‘I love kids.’ Maybe I’ll teach English because I love to read and write,” Mrs. Zavastky said. 

However, at her internship, Mrs. Zavatsky learned about another career choice: guidance counselling. “When I was doing an internship, I talked to a counselor and saw what they were doing in the school and realized it seemed really cool,” Mrs. Zavatsky said.  “I thought, ‘I think I might like this.’” 

Mrs. Zavatsky also had a close relationship with her guidance counselor from high school, which contributed to her decision for this career. “Back when I was in high school, I had an amazing counselor back in my hometown. She was fantastic, and I shouldn’t say that at the time I knew, but I always really valued her opinion and we’d go talk to her about everything –classes, boys, anything,” Mrs. Zavatsky said. “I still actually text with her.” 

With these influential factors, Mrs. Zavastky proceeded to work in special education then sixth grade for a year after college. Afterwards, she attended graduate school at Vanderbilt University, where she earned her school counseling license degree. 

From growing up in Massachusetts to attending school in Tennessee, it may seem puzzling how Mrs. Zavatsky found a job in the relatively small school of Cardinal Gibbons. What drew Mrs. Zavatsky to South Florida involves her husband. Mrs. Zavatsky and her husband were childhood friends who enrolled in swimming and sailing lessons as eight-year-olds and reconnected in their final college years. After a long-distance relationship because of his job in Florida and her school in Tennessee, Mrs. Zavatsky moved to Florida after college to be with her husband, a move that presented her with both a partner and the ability to pursue her favorite activity.

Ever since her parents enrolled her in swim lessons as a baby, Mrs. Zavatsky has loved the water. With some cajoling on her coach’s part, Mrs. Zavatsky joined a local swim team, an extracurricular Mrs. Zavatsky continued throughout high school and college. 

“Swimming [in high school] was super fun, and you can keep doing your sport in some way, shape or form after high school,” Mrs. Zavatsky said. “At Springfield [College], a division-three school, I swam competitively. I pretty much did anything freestyle up to the 500, but I also did sprints and butterfly. My best event is the 200 butterfly, which was exhausting to train for.”

To this day, Mrs. Zavatsky continues to swim with a master’s team three to four nights a week. Outside of practice, Mrs. Zavatsky also participates in open-water swim, and competed in a 12-and-a-half mile marathon around Key West in June. 

“Key West was a huge thing that I trained for. It was nothing like I’ve ever done before,” Mrs. Zavatsky said. “I love swimming, though. It’s my go-to hobby.”

When she’s not in the water, Mrs. Zavatsky can be found dedicating hours to her ninth and tenth graders, and she can’t wait to meet them during guidance classroom visits and one-on-one meetings later in the year.

“A goal of mine is to always put the students first. We all get stressed about things sometimes, and I want my students to know I’m here for them,” Mrs. Zavatsky said. “The biggest goal I have as a counselor is to be the voice for my students.”

As a junior, Kayla Rubenstein spends her third year on staff as Assistant Online Editor in Chief and Business Manager of iPatriot Post and the Patriot Post, respectively. Outside room 9114, Kayla acts as the co-historian of NHS and as a member of Quill and Scroll, EHS and SNHS. Kayla spends her free time making travel plans for the future, bugging her younger brother and binge watching Criminal Minds. Additionally, Kayla loves to read and often writes book reviews to release the mix of emotions most books give her. However, don’t ask Kayla what her favorite book is; she’ll give you an hour-long breakdown of her top reads in each genre.

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