Counselors, admissions use tech to stay in touch

Focus includes assistance to incoming freshmen


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.

Jake Langdon, Reporter/Videographer

As students adjust to the eLearning schedule, there has been an effort by teachers and staff to ease this transition and provide support for each and every student.

Counselors and administrators also are using technology to reach out to future members of the Irish family as well.  Mrs. Beth Wissler, assistant director for enrollment management; Mr. Duane Emery, director of counseling; and Mrs. Gretchen Watko ’00, school counselor, and all of the admissions and counseling staff have turned a special focus onto the Class of 2024.

Wissler mentioned that the two scheduling nights hosted by the admissions department had to be canceled, but because of some creativity and technology she and her colleagues were able to simulate this event. Wissler said, “We had the counselors, admissions team and a few others man individual Google hangouts for two evenings.” These are meetings where parents and students use a link to video chat with the admissions department.

Wissler said she was proud of the effort, saying, “We answered questions and scheduled the students’ classes. It was great fun and very successful.”

The actual act of scheduling was done through virtual submissions of schedules to the counseling office. Emery said the counseling staff was prepared for the worst as the threat of the coronavirus loomed. He said, “We are actually in better shape relative to schedule requests having been submitted than we have been in recent years,” which surprised him, he said.

Emery said he and his fellow counselors have adjusted well. He said, “Right now the (incoming) Freshman Class is right at the goal size. Having worked in admissions a lot in the past, we wouldn’t be doing a ton of in person stuff anyway right now other than the scheduling night. In that sense in a timing standpoint, it could’ve been a lot worse in terms of the admissions process.”

The most substantial challenge involves the inability of incoming freshmen to attend summer school classes, as these courses have moved to eLearning as well and to take proficiency tests. Watko reassured any families worrying about this, saying, “We have been reassuring families that we know summer school and proficiency testing is very important to our families, and Cathedral is working hard to identify solutions.”

To describe the overall experience, Watko said, “Being able to see someone and speak face-to-face makes a difference. This has been a great tool in addition to using the phone and email as forms of communication.” She admitted that it has taken her out of her comfort zone a little bit being on video rather than in person. As a positive twist, she said, “I feel like I am growing professionally and personally. In a way, I’m forced to.”

As the process of setting up the admissions for the next freshman year commences, the admissions and counseling department appear not to have not lost a step in their progress toward setting up schedules and easing the minds of incoming freshmen and their parents.