Getting to know the new head resource counselor and her history with Blair.
Makeyda Soriano may be Blair’s new resource counselor, but to many students and alumni, she is an old friend. Throughout her first few months as a counselor at Blair this year, she has been focused on promoting positive lifestyles across students and staff.
A noticeable change that Soriano has brought to Blair in her first few weeks has the presence of morale-boosting service dogs for the student body to interact with during lunches. The first of many initiatives to come, students can thank Soriano for the chance to destress with a canine companion over the course of the 2019-2020 school year.
Joining the Poms team as a coach halfway through the 2015 season, Soriano had already developed a good idea and image of what Blair life was like. So naturally, transferring from the Churchill Counseling department to Blair’s was an exhilarating experience. “As a coach, I get to fully see and appreciate the hard work that students strive for, even when they're tired or unsure. Being specifically a coach at Blair, gave me an appreciation for the spirit that lives in Blair and I always appreciated the inclusiveness I saw amongst students. So, when I knew I was going to be working with the student body, I was very excited!” she says.
This connection with poms also allowed many students to familiarize themselves with her determined and supportive personality before the school year began. Junior Poms Captain Eden Mengesha describes, “I first met coach Soriano the summer of my sophomore year. I thought she was a very empowering woman and she was always very straightforward and confident as a person and as a dancer. She would tell me to be the best person that I could be, and has been a bright light in my life.”
As head resource counselor, Soriano looks to promote healthy and positive lifestyles through various initiatives and events.”We hope to continue supporting the Be Well 365 initiative through our school-wide curriculum like Signs of Suicide along with Mental Health awareness programming. We hope to bring campaigns that bring awareness to specific illnesses while providing resources and a safe space for discussion during those times.” she states.
Soriano also looks to draw more attention to the counseling department to ensure students that counselors are available to them in times of need. “ I hope to continue promoting the mission and vision of our Blair School Counseling Program to support all of our Blazers academically, and socially and emotionally, while providing intentional engagement to ensure they are college and career prepared. Personally, I hope to promote a sense of visibility, so there can be a better understanding of our role.”
For students who have approached her, Soriano has presented herself as open and easy to reach. “Even as a counselor, I could go to her for family problems or life problems. I really appreciate her,” continues Mengesha.
In the near future, Soriano and the counseling department look to further their mental health awareness initiatives through issue-specific weeks that stimulate thoughtful discussion among students and staff. “During the week of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (Feb 2020), we will be hosting a discussion and a positive body image campaign for students to participate within. At the end of the day, we want to "Rethink the Stigma" of mental health, so we can build a community that is safe for students and staff to seek support if needed,” explains Soriano.
For Soriano, these initial weeks as a counselor at Blair have been fulfilling and motivating. “ Blair has been a great experience during these first few months. I hope to continue building upon the programs that were already occurring through helping them be more visible and accessible for all of our Blazers,” she concludes.
Rajit Mukhopadhyay. Hey, this is Rajit. As a Blair junior you can often find me playing tennis, hanging out with friends, or in the 240s hallway traffic jam. More »