Vierra supports students to help them succeed

Adjustment+Counselor+Kelly+Vierra+works+with+students+who+have+specific+education+plans+and+is+trained+to+work+with+all+students+related+to+their+mental+health.

Priya Maraliga

Adjustment Counselor Kelly Vierra works with students who have specific education plans and is trained to work with all students related to their mental health.

Julie Pinto, Staff Writer

For some, helping others is just a side job or interest, but new adjustment counselor Kelly Vierra chose to make it her career for life.

Vierra, as one of Algonquin’s four adjustment counselors, is assigned to work with specific students on education plans such as an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504, which help students with disabilities learn better. Vierra and other adjustment counselors are specialized to work in the realm of mental health, which makes them different from guidance counselors.

“Even though we are assigned to people, we can be a resource to any student,” Vierra said. “If a student is having a tough day, we are never going to shut our door to [them].” 

Vierra explained that if students come to her with issues that need to be worked on long-term, she can assist them in finding other resources for help.

For her, there are no regular school days. Vierra said there is always flexibility in her day because several issues pop up that need to be addressed. 

Oftentimes I think we look at success as getting straight A’s or going to the best colleges, and that’s not always what success is. Success can be as small as making it through a week of school for some students. ”

— Kelly Vierra, Adjustment Counselor

“You cannot predict when someone needs assistance,” Vierra said. 

Vierra previously worked at Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School as a Health and Physical Education teacher. However, she realized she wanted a little more than classroom teaching. Vierra holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master’s degree in counseling psychology and an educational specialist’s degree in counseling psychology. 

“I’ve always worked in the school system, so I knew that I wanted to continue working as a counselor in the school system,” Vierra said. 

Vierra said she enjoys seeing students succeed and believes success can come in many forms.

“Oftentimes I think we look at success as getting straight A’s or going to the best colleges, and that’s not always what success is,” Vierra said. “Success can be as small as making it through a week of school for some students.” 

Vierra feels comfortable at ARHS and appreciates how welcoming staff and students have been.

“I keep saying that I feel like I’ve been here for years,” Vierra said. 

Vierra’s office, F107, is decorated with beach decor because she describes the beach as her “happy place.” Outside of school, Vierra enjoys cruises and traveling with her family to places like Florida and Texas. 

Part of the reason Vierra is so excited to work at ARHS is that many members of her family are Algonquin alumni.

“Both my parents, and all my uncles came to Algonquin, and my parents met here,” Vierra said.

Vierra looks forward to working closely with the students of ARHS to make sure that they have a healthy and successful school year.