Our New Counselor: Vanessa Acosta

Janette Fu, Managing Editor

Ms. Vanessa Acosta is one of the three new counselors at SMHS.

With many changes coming to SMHS, the school hired new counselors, and one of them is Ms. Vanessa Acosta. Born and raised in Glendale, Acosta hopes to help the students assimilate into high school and navigate their courses. 

At SMHS, Acosta hopes to connect with all of the students and families because she understands the added anxiety and stress due to the pandemic. She realizes that the students here have gone through a transition of counselors, which is why she wants to get to know all of her students. 

Acosta received her bachelor’s degree in child development with specialization in youth agency administration from Cal State LA. In fact, by studying the brain of 0-18 year-olds, Acosta could better comprehend where students are at and what approach to take. She understands that being a student is only one aspect of the student’s identity; there are more parts such as being a son/daughter, sibling, friend, etc. For her master’s degree, Acosta majored in educational counseling at the University of La Verne. 

Knowing that she wanted to work with students, Acosta first worked as a preschool teacher. However, it wasn’t until she worked at a non-profit organization that she learned that she enjoyed working with youth from K-12. She developed a passion to support students, helping them to not only achieve their goals, but to also help them become self-sufficient. In regards to higher education, Acosta has worked for community colleges such as Pasadena City College and Rio Hondo City College. There, she helped other counselors create educational processes, and she helped students with the transfer process to their UC school of choice. Additionally, Acosta has also worked at Monrovia High School and Monrovia Elementary School. 

The moments Acosta finds the most rewarding when counseling is when she can help students fit into their environment. For instance, Acosta recounts the satisfactory feeling when she helped international students assimilate into not only a new culture, but also a new school. She assisted these students in acknowledging their own strengths and skills that they could bring; furthermore, she tried to help give them a sense of belonging. Acosta values being “part of the process” because she enjoys watching students grow, mature, and learn, which is something that she sees as rewarding. 

“I’m excited and happy to be here. I’m looking forward to working with everyone,” Acosta said. “I want to ensure that everyone knows my role. I’m not just your academic counselor [who is trying to] prepare you for college or your career. I hope to be a social and emotional component [as well as your] support system. I don’t want to just be in my office. I want to be in your classrooms and see you outside during lunchtime. I wish to see different parts of you as a student. If you see me wave hi and say hi. Don’t be a stranger because I want to see different parts of you as you grow wherever you’re at or whatever grade you’re in.”