On the outskirts of civilization in Alaska, three counselors with Grand Valley connections are building a network of support for children in a rural school district.
Graduates Nicole Lyke and Joseph Hausler and associate professor Shawn Bultsma are helping to construct an elementary level counseling program for the Kenai Peninsula School District.
The trio comprise half of the district’s elementary school counselors serving more than 4,500 students covering the district’s 25,600 square miles — an area about the size of West Virginia and larger than 10 U.S. states.
“There is a lot of freedom to pave your own way here,” said Lyke, who graduated with a master’s in school counseling in 2014 and was the first of the three to settle in the area. “We advocate for what we want and what we need. We have a small school counselor cohort and while we are hundreds of miles apart, we support one another.”