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September 30, 2019 - 3:09pm

Byron-Bergen college and career counselor honored with national award

Photo: Rob Kaercher at the National Association for College Admissions Counselors at their annual conference in Louisville, Ky.

Submitted photo and press release:

LOUISVILLE, KY. -- On Saturday, Sept. 28, Byron-Bergen College and Career counselor Rob Kaercher accepted the Rising Star Award from the National Association for College Admissions Counselors at their annual conference in Louisville, Ky.

This national award “honors individuals and programs that exemplify excellence and dedication to serving the needs of students in the transition from high school to college."

Kaercher’s position has many aspects from exposing students to a variety of job experiences to helping them complete their college applications.

“I try to help them find a career path that matches their interests,” he said. "I have college and career assessment tools to help with this, but talking to the individual students, reflecting on what brings their interests and what they enjoy in their classes, is the best way. Each student is different. It’s all about personalized attention.”

When asked why Byron-Bergen stood out in the nationwide competition, Kaercher said, “It’s visionary for a small, rural school to have a College and Career counselor. This position is much more prevalent at private schools, public charter schools, and in some suburban and urban schools that have created a college-going culture.

"Byron-Bergen is somewhat unique in that my colleagues in the Counseling Department can focus on the social and emotional development of our students and I can focus on helping with the transition out of high school.

"I hope that we continue to see more rural schools, and schools in general, see the importance of developing a College and Career Center to enhance the school counseling department.”

Another difference between Byron-Bergen and larger districts is the variety of career paths students are interested in.

“This award highlights the transition of students from high school to college, but every year I help students transition to four-year colleges, two-year colleges, military careers, and many students enter directly into the workforce," Kaercher said. "Each of these students is valuable and I hope that I can help them leave high school ready to fulfill their goals.”

“We are extremely lucky to have Rob on our team,” said Byron-Bergen High School Principal Pat McGee. “It’s not enough just to have a College and Career Center. It needs to be in the hands of a dedicated professional counselor with the knowledge, connections, and passion for helping students map out their futures. This is a well-deserved honor.”

“I couldn’t do my job without the flexibility and enthusiasm of our amazing faculty and staff,” Kaercher said. “They meet with students, join field trips, write letters of recommendation – their support allows me to connect the dots.”

In addition to the national award, Kaercher received the Rising Star Award from the New York State Association for College Admission Counseling in August.

I think this is one of the best jobs in the world because I really enjoy working with the students, staff, and faculty,” Kaercher said. “These students have dreams and goals. They are curious and want to explore. That really keeps my job fun and interesting.”

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