President’s Update: Reflection and Inspiring Hope
By Roberto Suarez, President
Homewood-Flossmoor High School
From the bottom of mi corazon (my heart) thank you all for the work you do and always going beyond limits and unleashing opportunities. You may not always realize the impact you have on our youth, but from my eyes you are all heroes making a positive change in our world that cannot always be seen to the untrained eye.
As a public school counselor you have many ups and downs during the week. Intertwined with assisting students find the right fit college which values and advocates for them, we are providing counseling services to students at all levels. On the downside of this fall semester I am counseling and supporting students going through intensive chemotherapy; dealing with financial struggles by relying on local food pantries; supporting loved ones with medical needs; grieving with the loss of family and/or friends to homicide; finding ways to cope with family abuse and/or neglect; learning to manage high anxiety, depression, and/or suicidal ideation.
It brought unstoppable tears when a student stopped by the other day with a beaming smile saying, “I’ll beat cancer.”
On the upside of this semester, nothing gives me more joy than when a student has been positively impacted by the work we do. It brought unstoppable tears when a student stopped by the other day with a beaming smile saying, “I’ll beat cancer.” After not seeing her since June of last year I couldn’t help but open my arms and offer a gentle hug to her frail and weakened frame. Her motivation this entire semester has been on meeting her academic goals and getting into the right fit college that advocates for her. Later that week I was high-fived by several students excited to be accepted into their top choice college followed by phone calls from two excited alum requesting to present and promote their college because of their outstanding college experience.
College admissions is a complex and nuanced profession mixing many individuals and fields under one umbrella. Unrealized at times, our work is certainly one of the most influential and powerful professions because we have the great responsibility of connecting our youth to their dreams and passions that will forever impact their personal and professional life. Through reflection, we all begin to realize that at the end of the day, people, specifically, our youth, are behind every number. While every student may not get into their top choice college or be able to beat cancer, let us remember that we all have the ability to make a positive impact on our youth by offering a caring hand, empathetic counsel, and unconditioned support.
Once again, thank you for all you do. You all are part of the change that makes our world a better place.
The Collective Work of IACAC
In an IACAC listserv I posted earlier this school year, I shared how IACAC’s programs helped me remember the power people hold with inspiring others to make a positive impact. It is through our collective work that we make a difference in the lives of our youth. From the prospective Nobel Prize winner to an aspiring philanthropist, all individuals hold tremendous power and responsibility on making our world a better place. Having the opportunity to attend college opened up a world I never could have imagined without the educators who championed for me and connected me to a calling.
As Dr. Michael Sorrell, President of Paul Quinn College, has said, finding your calling can be one of the most disruptive, scariest, and most inspiring things you can ever do and it may not look anything what you wanted. It is through our programs I see many IACAC members connecting with their calling. Witnessing the dedication, talents, and energy of those who volunteer with IACAC programs is unlike anything I’ve seen in other professions. Below are links to our programs we offered since May. You will find that every program offered by IACAC is an exchange between those living out their calling and those that are looking to begin their path. Let us always remember it is our roles as college admission professionals to go beyond limits, unleash opportunities, and connect our youth to their calling.
Camp College at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Saint Louis University, and Blackburn College