As intimidating as it may seem, a new school year constitutes for many changes-- including fresh faces among staff and students. This year in particular though, the district has welcomed Tristan Zelinka and Robert High as new high school guidance counselors.
Many students may remember High in particular from Central York Middle School, where he began working as a school guidance counselor in 1996. Prior to his teaching career at Central York School District, he had enlisted in the Air Force and served four years as a military policeman. During this time, High says he truly realized the “helping” aspect of law enforcement after delivering a baby in the back of his patrol car, and liked the idea of helping even more people.
“After the military, I wanted to stay in the helping profession but had enough of law enforcement, so I majored in psychology and went on to graduate school,” said High. He studied both undergraduate and graduate work at California University of Pennsylvania, earning a degree in school guidance.
While in college, High also met a professor who he says, “...was not only impressive, but motivated me to want to be just like him.” From this experience, High says that he constantly strives to be the best counselor possible and tries to take advantage of everything to benefit students both personally and with their educational needs.
Similarly to High, Zelinka says he also aims to help students with their personal needs and wants students to know that he is approachable if they need a private outlet to express their feelings.
Zelinka follows in the footsteps of his father, a retired school counselor, which has allowed him to become familiar with what effective counseling programs can provide for individuals. He did not realize that his father’s profession would be his calling as well until he was working in a mental health facility for children and adolescents. Focusing on development and personal growth, Zelinka found himself working well with people in their most vulnerable states and decided to pursue a degree in counseling.
He graduated from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania with a master’s degree in education, then earned a certification in teaching secondary English and a program specialist certification in working with English Language Learners.
Zelinka has been working actively as a school guidance counselor since 2011 in various areas, but says that Central York High School varies from other schools due to the abundance of clubs and activities offered.
“I believe if a learner has an interest here, there is a club for it,” said Zelinka. After his years working in his profession, he believes that students who feel connected and part of the school community tend to do consistently well in school. The immense amount of extracurriculars also allow for students to develop a foundation for what they can do with life after graduation, regardless of students interests in continuing their education, pursuing careers or joining the military.