An Ambitious New Staff Member

Among many great role models on the Lompoc High campus, a fresh, strong, and ambitious new staff member is making a change already.

Delanie Valencia, Author

Among many great role models on the Lompoc High campus, a fresh, strong, and ambitious new staff member is making a change already.

Mr. Wilson, one of Lompoc High’s two SEL counselors, joined LHS this year and believes “the [Lompoc High School] community as a whole has so much potential, but we just need to figure out how we can kind of tap into that potential to help these kids grow.” And that is precisely what the SEL (Social Emotional Learning) counselors are aiming to do. Wilson describes SEL as “any type of social-emotional learning that needs improvement in one’s self; it isn’t just specific to one topic. It can be utilized in group therapy [or] individual conversations, depending on what type of environment you want to learn in.” They offer programs that seek to boost self-esteem, positivity, and coping skills for students that struggle with mental health and stress. The ultimate goal is to help struggling students who lack confidence ask for help and to destigmatize mental health.

Wilson began as a wrestling coach and remains in the position at LHS now. He says that while coaching, a former counselor asked if he had considered counseling. Wilson didn’t have a huge interest in SEL or guidance counseling before and actually wanted to be a teacher. Wrestling is a one-on-one sport, and each wrestler has their own style, which translates well to counseling individual students who each have their own unique stories. Wilson feels he can be more effective working one-on-one with students rather than an entire classroom. He also makes an impact as the wrestling coach because he enjoys helping his athletes and is happy with how the season is looking.

He thinks that “people are starting to be more open about [mental health],” but there are still some people who don’t quite understand it. When asked how he thinks people can not feel awkward about joining SEL programs, he responded that “the biggest way is to not use it as a joke when people talk about their emotions or talk about their mental health.” Advocacy from people higher up, such as team captains and ASB leaders, about mental health will also go a long way in making people feel more comfortable about speaking up. Taking a stand and helping to get rid of that stigma is very important. Currently, Wilson’s main goal is to spread awareness and show the growth and progress of the program.