UCS counselor named Counselor of the Year

By: Kara Szymanski | C&G Newspapers | Published August 26, 2021

 Catherine Livingston has been named Counselor of the Year by the Michigan School Counselor Association.

Catherine Livingston has been named Counselor of the Year by the Michigan School Counselor Association.

Photo provided by Tim Mcavoy

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP/UTICA/STERLING HEIGHTS — A Utica Community Schools counselor has been named Counselor of the Year by the Michigan School Counselor Association for her leadership in giving resources and support to counselors so that they can meet their students’ mental health needs.

Henry Ford II High School counselor Catherine Livingston has made a career of helping her students academically and emotionally.

Livingston, who is certified as a professional counselor, serves on many mental health boards and has made presentations at multiple state conferences on youth mental health and suicide prevention.

Livingston said it was an honor to receive the recognition.

“It not only represents those accomplishments I have made, but it represents the positive undertakings of Utica Community Schools as it relates to student academic, career and especially their social emotional/mental health needs,” she stated in a press release.

She said she was able to receive the award with the help of those at UCS.

“None of my accomplishments would have transpired if it wasn’t for the supportive group of individuals that make up the UCS community,” she stated.

UCS’s “whole child approach” is said to be what has earned Livingston the 2022 Michigan School Counselor of the Year by the MSCA.

“They say it takes a village to raise a child. I say it takes a dedicated united school district to educate the whole child,” she stated.

Livingston said she follows the teaching of Mandy Savitz-Romer in “Fulfilling the Promise,” which describes the school counselor office as an “academic home” for students.

“School counselors are the first point of contact for student support, and we as school counselors must have the knowledge and access to be able to coordinate and connect services for our students. Just like a primary physician who coordinates patient care in their medical setting,” she said.

UCS listed some of Livingston’s accomplishments in her 22-year school counseling career.

• Transitioning the UCS Crisis Team to a Critical Incident Stress Management Team with an emphasis on being more mental health-focused and using a national model approach.

• Establishing the first KNOWRESOLVE Student Leader Group, which promotes youth mental and suicide prevention awareness.

• Collaborating with Macomb Family Services and offering the Adolescence Outreach Program, or AOP, which provides therapy for students during the school day at no cost to parents.

• Collecting data and discovering the positive impact that AOP has on academics.

• Partnering with KNOWRESOVLE to have yearly presentations for high school students on youth mental health and suicide prevention awareness.

• Developing Mental Health Cards for parents and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.

UCS Superintendent Robert Monroe said Livingston deserves the recognition.

“Our entire community is proud that Ms. Livingston is being recognized for her tireless work to meet the academic and social-emotional needs of our students. She is a leader on student mental health issues throughout the state, and her student advocacy work has truly made a difference in our schools,” he said in an email.

MSCA President Terri Tchorzynski had high praise for Livingston.

“You lead the way in doing the right thing for students,” Tchorzynski said in the press release.

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