Thirty-eight counselors from 25 different high schools attended the Newman admissions annual counselor appreciation breakfast on Friday, Dec. 3.
The breakfast was organized by the admissions team as a way to give thanks to high school counselors for all their hard work as well as share Newman news and updates. This year’s gathering also included a special holiday performance by the Newman Troubadours, directed by music director Deanne Zogleman and accompanied by Carole Pracht.
“Today gives us a chance to show our appreciation for all of our partnerships, which is huge,” admissions counselor Hollie Weatherburn said. “Georgia (Drewes) and Geoff (Louvar) and the team have done an amazing job organizing this and making it as much fun as possible.”
Capturing the unique Newman experience
Attendees heard directly from Newman President Kathleen S. Jagger, Ph.D., MPH, about student resources such as the Virtual Care Group (VCG), and from Christine Schneikart-Luebbe, vice president for enrollment management and student success, on the new Catholic Promise and Catholic Leaders of Tomorrow grants.
Jagger also noted how the university can help students of all backgrounds and abilities to achieve academic excellence.
“We don’t just mean for the students who come in excellent,” Jagger explained. “We help meet students where they are and see how we can enable them to grow as individuals. We help students understand that the only time you lose from failure is when you don’t learn from it, and encourage students to enter with an explorer mindset.”
Assistant dean for arts and sciences and director of Navigator Audrey Hane, Ph.D., explained how the Navigator program offers students a customized education plan to match their passion and purpose.
Georgia Drewes, associate director of admissions, spoke to updates on Newman scholarships, upcoming deadlines and even held a “Mythbusters” session to address common misconceptions of the college experience.
Souvenirs for the road
Each high school counselor filled a bag with updated Newman information to take back to his or her students. They also received complimentary gift items including a t-shirt, stickers and even a succulent plant for their office.
“I thought it would be great to have a plant in every high school counselor’s office with the Newman branding saying, ‘Newman University grows great graduates,’ just because we do grow great students and they help transform society,” Geoff Louvar, admissions digital marketing manager, said.
He added, “Since Lauren (Aaron) is a huge plant fanatic, I thought it was the perfect project for her. And she actually told me yesterday that potting the (60) plants was one of the best work days of her life.”
Lauren Aaron, an admissions counselor and 2018 Newman graduate, describes high school counselors as “our unsung heroes.”
“They are such a huge part of our success in our job here, and I think this was just a great opportunity to love them up, thank them for all their hard work and continued support,” Aaron said.
Random drawings for prize giveaways included generous gift cards to Dillons, an auto detailing shop and Molly Maid service.
A lighthearted theme
Last year’s virtual breakfast was themed after the movie “Elf,” complete with breakfast takeaway boxes inspired by scenes from the film. This year, the admissions team picked a theme based on the sitcom TV series, “The Office.”
“I absolutely love ‘The Office’ theme today,” Weatherburn said. “I know admissions has had some pretty cool themes in the past, and ‘The Office’ is one of my favorite shows.”
Not only did Louvar and Drewes manage the planning of the breakfast, but they also came up with creative ways to reference the show in the form of “Dundies” awards for “the farthest travels,” “whitest sneakers” and “best counselor ever.” Breakfast items also carried the theme, with George Foreman Grill bacon, paper-shaped pancakes and Scott’s (tater) Tots.
The two also work together to film a video of the admissions team in the style of — you guessed it — “The Office.”
“I think the theme just puts everyone in good spirits,” Louvar said.