Graduate Student Pursues Counseling Degree while Supporting Scecina Students

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We had the opportunity to speak with Maddie Buckner, a graduate student at Indiana State University who is working towards her school counseling degree and is supporting Scecina. In addition to her fieldwork, Maddie is spearheading a leadership program for Scecina students that comes with a unique twist. Read on to learn more about Maddie’s experience and her approach to leadership development.

Q: Can you tell us about your background and education?
A: Of course! I’m originally from Fishers, Indiana, and graduated from Guerin Catholic High School in 2019. I then attended Marian University in Indianapolis, earning a B.A. in psychology with a concentration in clinical psychology and minors in pastoral leadership and theatre. While at Marian, I was a member of the San Damiano Scholars Program, which is focused on developing students as missionary disciples through scholarship, discipleship, and leadership. I’m in my third semester of graduate school at Indiana State University, working towards my M.Ed. in school counseling.

Q: How did you end up at Scecina Memorial High School, and what is your focus?
A: I was drawn to Scecina Memorial because of its commitment to providing individualized student support and interventions. As a school counselor, building relationships with students is essential to creating an environment where they feel supported and can succeed. Scecina Memorial’s smaller size and lower student-counselor ratio made it an excellent fit for me to do what I love. While at Scecina, I’m focused on applying what I’m learning in my graduate program to promote student success in the academic, college career readiness, and social-emotional domains.

Q: How are you supporting Scecina Memorial High School students, and what have you learned so far?
A: I support students in various ways, including delivering classroom guidance lessons on careers, personality, respect, and effective communication. I also conduct individual and group counseling sessions to help students in all three domains of academics, college and career readiness, and social-emotional well-being. One of the most important things I’ve learned is the importance of collaboration and community. Working with students, counselors, teachers, and families has helped students feel like valuable members of the Scecina Memorial community, and it’s been inspiring to see how everyone works together to prioritize student belonging and success.

Q: What do you enjoy about working at Scecina Memorial High School?
A: The community is what I enjoy most about the Scecina Memorial. Everyone I’ve interacted with, from students to staff, genuinely cares about the well-being of those around them and has made me feel welcome. I appreciate the dedication and drive of faculty and staff to work together to provide support and interventions for students who need it. Most of all, I enjoy getting to know the students I interact with daily and learning more about their personalities, strengths, and sense of humor.

Q: What is your focus for the second semester, and can you tell us about your new leadership project?
A: I focus on conducting individual and group counseling sessions this semester. One of the most exciting projects I’m working on is a leadership group for students who display leadership potential. We’ll discuss public speaking, written communication, job interview skills, digital citizenship, etiquette, career exploration, and self-awareness. We aim to equip these students with the skills and confidence they need to pursue their futures passionately and purposefully.

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