“School Counselor of the Year”

Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen

The Pennsylvania School Counselor Association recently named Avonworth's Nicole Levis School Counselor of the Year at its annual conference, this year held at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, PA on Thursday, Nov. 30.

The presentation highlighted an awards banquet held during the organization's 62nd annual meeting.

Michael Perrott, middle school counselor at South Fayette and chairperson of the PSCA Recognitions Committee, said, "It is clear that during her time at Avonworth, Ms. Levis has been instrumental in impacting the lives of the students she serves and has worked tirelessly to embrace and uphold the qualities and values established for school counselors."

Karen Rubican, counselor at Canon-McMillan High School, nominated Levis, one of 27 counselors vying for the honor.

Once nominated, she had to complete a lengthy application process and provide a video highlighting her school and program.

Broadcasting instructor Mike Lincoln said that the video produced by his students “…highlighted Mrs. Levis's accomplishments as our school counselor as they told the story of her commitment and dedication to student growth and success.”

The current school year marks her 20th as a counselor at Avonworth, during which time she has seen many changes in issues that she has to address.

“Today's high school student faces a great deal of academic and social pressure, which often leads to mental health concerns. Social media plays a large part. Counselors also face the fact that we have a large number of students on our case load and can't always be pro-active in our programming.”

But with those challenges comes a sense of fulfillment when she can be of assistance to students.

“I enjoy the fact that most of the time the students leave my office with a smile. If I can make students feel even just a bit better than how they felt when they walked into my office, then I've done my job.”

Fellow teacher Kerri Villani, Avonworth middle and high school studio arts instructor, said, “Mrs. Levis does so much every day for our students. This recognition is a well-deserved honor.”

Principal Keera Dwulit added to the positive comments, saying, "I am so proud of Nicole for being recognized with such a prestigious honor and one coming from an organization like the Pennsylvania School Counselors Association. It reflects highly on her, on Avonworth High School and on the incredible work that we have to do together as we move forward."

Superintendent Thomas Ralston rounded out the accolades: “We are very proud of Mrs. Levis on being named School Counselor of the Year. Her role is tremendously important in supporting students and encouraging them to be the best that they can be.”