National School Counselor Week | Cathy Longstreet

“Being able to help students figure out their direction after high school is my favorite part of the job.” - Cathy Longstreet

The Hastings Area School System is a rural school district located in southwest Michigan. One of the gems of the district is one of their school counselors, Cathy Longstreet. She has been with the Hastings Area School System for 23 years, currently serving as a school counselor at Hastings High School and K12 Counseling Department chair. Cathy started her career teaching second grade and then transitioned into elementary school counseling a few years later. She has served as a school counselor at every grade level and in every building in her district, working in her current role at the high school for the past 10 years. She currently serves on the Executive Board of the Michigan ACAC and was appointed to the Governor’s first Educator Advisory Council this year. 

Thousands of students from the Hastings Area School System have flowed through Cathy’s guidance and care as their counselor, including her two sons. Cathy shared with us that what she is most passionate about is the opportunity to expose rural, first-generation students to colleges and careers they never considered or knew existed before. This passion is evident in the various contributions Cathy makes to the students in her community and all over the country. 

Through a partnership with the Michigan College Access Network, Cathy’s team was awarded several Reach Higher grants to expand college and career awareness within Hastings High School. One of the grants allowed them to create a self-discovery career-exploration class for freshmen. This class has been such a success that it is now a graduation requirement. During this class, students use resources, like Naviance, to learn more about themselves and their natural abilities, and explore colleges and careers that align with their interests and strengths.

Cathy’s support of students’ exposure to college and career doesn’t stop in Michigan. In the summer, she works as a College Admissions Coach at the University of Southern California (USC) in their Bovard Scholars program, a highly-selective summer program for rising high school seniors from underrepresented populations. The selected students in this program spend three weeks on the USC campus and learn about the college application process for any college, not just USC. Students also receive additional resources and training to assist them with their process. Cathy is matched with 10 students whom she works with one-on-one throughout the summer. She continues to work with them virtually when they return home to ensure they will find success in their postsecondary plan. 

For Cathy, what’s most important is that her rural students see all the possibilities that lay ahead for them and that they find the right path for who they are. She beamed with pride when she spoke of her students who are discovering careers they never knew existed, are first in their family to go to college, and are uncovering the best fit path for themselves. 

Thank you, Cathy, for your years of service to the community in the Hastings Area School District! 

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