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2017 School Counselor of the year makes the connection in Chapel

On Monday, April 16, Spring Arbor University welcomed alumna Terri Tchorzynski ‘10 to speak in Chapel. Tchorzynski, recipient of the national School Counselor of the Year award in 2017, shared her philosophy of life with all in attendance.

Tchorzynski began by describing an unnamed girl full of potential but whose future was hampered by a bad attitude and self-destructive choices. “That girl was me,” she later revealed. Thanks to educators and mentors who reached out to her, she was able to overcome her difficulties and thrive. “Even though, sometimes, that girl is still with me,” Tchorzynski said.

The power and importance of these intentional, interpersonal connections was the main thrust of what Tchorzynski shared. She commended SAU for being an institution that values students as individuals, rather than numbers, and cited that as the primary reason behind pursuing her masters of arts in counseling at the university.

She encouraged students to find their passions, pursue their callings and persevere through difficulties, never settling for mediocre work or thinking you’ve “arrived” and now the work is over. “Winning this award doesn’t mean I’ve accomplished everything or that my career has peaked,” Tchorzynski said. “It just means that there’s a lot more work to be done. There are more students to help.”

That propensity to help can have a rippling effect. Citing the final speech given by former First Lady Michelle Obama, Tchorzynski entreated her audience to reach out to someone they see struggling, because not only will that person be affected, but so too will the people in their life, and so on, waves of positivity rippling out to countless unseen individuals you will never know. It is a challenge well worth accepting.

Tchorzynski was honored in a ceremony at the White House in January, 2017, where she received the national School Counselor of the Year award. She previously served as an English teacher at Yale Junior High School and Union City High School. She currently works as a school counselor at the Calhoun Area Career Center in Battle Creek, Michigan, and she also coaches the women’s basketball team at Harper Creek High School.