Counseling director focuses on serving students

Emery will leave at end of the school year for new position


Ava Amos

Director of counseling Mr. Duane Emery, along with the other counselors and the admissions staff, have used technology to communicate with the incoming freshmen and their parents.

Katie Darragh, Reporter

Mr. Duane Emery will be taking a new position at Sycamore School as its director of enrollment. Duane has served many roles in his 20-plus years as a member of the Irish family, including being a college counselor, director of admissions, vice president of advancement, vice president of enrollment management, director of counseling and director of financial aid.

“In each position, Duane has been a consummate professional, admired by his colleagues and Cathedral families,” according to a statement announcing Emery’s upcoming job change.

That statement included sentiments from administration such as from President Dr. Rob Bridges. “Duane Emery has served the Cathedral community, especially the families as they begin their experience here, with class and a special personal touch. I am grateful for his service to Cathedral High School,” said Bridges.

About his new position, Emery said, “I’m excited about getting back into enrollment. I love that kind of work.”

He spoke about how he will get the chance to focu on the overarching strategy of the school with the school’s admissions team, including the head of school, head of early childhood, head of the lower school, head of the middle school, chief financial officer, marketing director and advancement officer of Sycamore. He said hopes that this type of work will expand his professional background and allow him to grow.

When asked what he will miss most he said, “The people. That’s an easy one.”

Emery had just turned 27 when he started working at Cathedral and will leave just before he turns 48, and so Emery explains that “most of my adult best friends are Cathedral people.”

He also mentioned how much he will miss the students who he had the privilege of working with these past 20 years. “There are some students I dread not getting to work with,” said Emery.

Emery became emotional while reminiscing on some of his past favorite memories on the Hill. He reflected upon the time his family endured a major house fire, destroying most of the house and about 80% of their earthly possessions. It took place just five days before his daughter Zoey turned a year old, and his young son was not yet 3.

“The way that Cathedral responded to my family in that time of need is never something I will be able to repay. The way this community supported my family during that time of crisis is humbling, embarrassing at times, but special,” Emery said.

It is this same passionate connection to the community that Emery felt that made his work in admissions his favorite position he’s held during his career. “I would have told you at one point of my life that college counseling is my favorite, but it really hasn’t been,” said Emery. “I mean I love it, but the admissions work and getting to know all the families that come into the school is special.”

As he prepares to say goodbye, he reflects on his central philosophy in which he has tried to live by since he was first hired.

The story goes that during one of his first interviews, he was asked why he wanted to come and work at Cathedral. He replied by saying, “I have always wanted to help kids, and so if I come to Cathedral and I help change the life of one child, whether I am here for a day, a week, a month, a year, my time will have been well spent.”

Since that day he has tried to keep that memory and philosophy in everything he has done. And now, with the campus shut down at least until May 4, Emery and all the counselors are working every day to provide assistance to students and to, as he said, change the life not just one child, but many children.