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October 26, 2023

Get to know your counselor

Walker making an impact one student at a time
Katie+Walker+is+entering+her+fourth+year+as+a+counselor+at+CHS9%2C+previously+working+as+a+special+education+teacher+at+Coppell+Middle+School+West.+Graduating+from+Angelo+State+University%2C+Walker+has+a+degree+in+speech+pathology%2C+and+she+enjoys+working+with+people.
Rhea Choudhary
Katie Walker is entering her fourth year as a counselor at CHS9, previously working as a special education teacher at Coppell Middle School West. Graduating from Angelo State University, Walker has a degree in speech pathology, and she enjoys working with people.

CHS9 counselor Katie Walker is entering her fourth year as a counselor. However, Walker wasn’t always a counselor; she graduated from Angelo State University with a degree in speech pathology. Previously, she has worked as a special education teacher at Coppell Middle School West (CMSW).

CHS9 counselor Katie Walker explains how coloring can be a calming exercise for students when they are stressed. Walker is entering her fourth year as a counselor at CHS9, previously working as a special education teacher at Coppell Middle School West. (Rhea Choudhary)

Why did you switch from special education teaching to counseling?

There were several factors, but one of the bigger ones was knowing that kids need support and a listening ear. I think special education and counseling have a lot of the same skill sets because there’s a lot of patience that goes with it. If you are in the high school level, you have to know about courses and transition to high school or college and career force. It felt like a natural transition, the schools I worked in had a high at risk population. Families didn’t always know where to get that support and I liked being a resource that could help find those connections.

Why did you choose counseling?

I think that there is a need for it. Kids need to have connections and meaningful relationships. They need to have someone that they can talk to and feel safe with. It doesn’t always have to be me, if we can find that student someone that can be there then that helps a lot. They need to know it’s OK to be sad, angry or anxious and they need to know how to process those feelings.

How do you work to get your message across?

Being available, being able to listen and provide advice helps. I know my skill set and I know where I have to stop as a counselor because I’m not a therapist. It’s like a nurse, you’re not going to go to the nurse for chemotherapy but they can refer you to someone who can really help you.

CHS9 counselor Katie Walker explains how coloring can be a calming exercise for students when they are stressed. Walker is entering her fourth year as a counselor at CHS9, previously working as a special education teacher at Coppell Middle School West. (Rhea Choudhary)

Do you think your positive attitude helps you connect with the students?

I hope it does. I hope I make the students feel comfortable, heard and listened to. I know that sometimes it may not be helpful because, unlike a therapist, you can’t choose your counselor. I try to match what is needed but even if we don’t click, I am still there for the student. We are here at the end of the day to support and mold good citizens.

How do you work with students who come from backgrounds where mental health awareness is stigmatized?

It can be challenging. I talk to [CHS9 counselor Amy Blasingame] about this, but I want to make sure that I am culturally responsive since I don’t come from the same cultural background as a lot of my students. I have to learn and make sure that I am listening. If the student says ‘My parents will not want to hear this’ then I have to find a way to approach them in a way that is culturally sensitive.

What would you want to see regarding mental health progress both at CHS9 and in the United States?

I feel like we have gone leaps and bounds, especially since COVID-19, because most students are very emotionally aware and want help. I think we just need to be able to continue that momentum going forward and reminding people that they can ask for help. If there is more of a need for it then we can get more resources to help, but if people stay quiet then we think, “OK, we’re good, two counselors is enough.” I want to see more robust systems like having more counselors available for more than just academics. 

Follow Nyah (@nyah_rama) and @CHSCampusNews on X.

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About the Contributors
Nyah Rama, CHS9 Editor
Nyah is a junior and the CHS9 editor for The Sidekick. Although she was inspired by Rory from Gilmore Girls at 9 years old, Nyah’s journey in the school newspaper and journalism started when she won Writer of the Week during a journalism summer camp. Outside of writing for The Sidekick, Nyah is also an editor for the magazine TaHB, which focuses on topics and events in the science and medical field. When not working on a story for The Sidekick, struggling through IB classes, or editing for TaHB magazine, Nyah enjoys critiquing reality TV with her friends over FaceTime, listening to female rap artists such as Cardi B, Saweetie and Latto, and keeping up with her football team, the New York Jets. As a proud New Jerseyan, born and raised for 5 years, Nyah attributes her opinionated personality to her Jersey origin. She loves everything about the American Northeast: people’s aggressive attitudes and aggression, and the busy city lifestyle. To discuss Patrick Mahomes’ football career, share opinions on reality TV characters, or discuss rap culture, you can contact Nyah by email at [email protected] or on Instagram (@nyah_rama).
Rhea Choudhary, Staff Writer
Rhea Choudhary is a junior at Coppell High School; she first took a step in D115 in order to pursue photography for The Sidekick. Despite her initial intentions, she is now a second year member, returning as a staff writer. At first, thought she wasn't the best fit for writing, but after deciding to give it a shot, she soon realized that she let her fear keep her from finding what she truly enjoys doing!  As an avid show binger, Rhea’s top three shows include Gossip Girl, Gilmore Girls and One Tree Hill, as she can go on for hours talking about any of them. She also loves watching classic Hindi movies (with lots of iconic songs and actors in them), along with consistently enjoying listening to her 24-hour Bollywood music playlist, on a loop. Her favorite food is drunken noodles and sushi, along with loving any sweets that contain milk chocolate or caramel. As a member of HOSA, Rhea hopes to pursue a future career in medicine, specifically to become an oncologist. Rhea has completed her Bharatanatyam arangetram, a solo debut/graduation, and is still a dedicated dancer. As an only child that keeps the volume in her house very high at all times, Rhea’s number one friend is Teddy Graham, her mini goldendoodle. Feel free to reach Rhea at [email protected] or follow her on X @rhea_choud.

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