After 15 years as a guidance counselor, Carol Ramp still enjoys the daily challenges of working with students.
"I'm very passionate about my job," the C.T. Walker Traditional Magnet School counselor said. "I absolutely love it."
Ms. Ramp is one of thousands of counselors across the nation who contribute to the academic success of America's children. Counselors serve in a variety of roles, from friend and mentor to record keeper and testing coordinator.
"Counselors are extremely important support personnel," said Carol Rountree, director of the guidance department for Richmond County schools.
The functions of school counselors vary at the elementary, middle and high school levels, but they share a common goal - to help pupils achieve success in school.
Elementary school counselors focus on helping pupils deal with family or peer-related situations, such as death or interpersonal relationships.
"Children are vulnerable at this age and often have a difficult time understanding life situations," Ms. Ramp said.
As important as individual counseling is at this age, Ms. Ramp said group or classroom guidance must be focused on, too.
"It's important for children to know how to relate to each other in a positive and productive manner," she said.
Focusing on the positive is part of the job for Ms. Ramp, but there are difficult moments.
"After all these years, I have a hard time not taking my work home with me, not worrying about a child that's having a problem at home," she said.
But for all the worrying she does, Ms. Ramp delights in seeing a child overcome an issue or situation.
Counselors do have a hand in the life of a child, but Ms. Ramp said she refuses to take credit for a child's success.
"We can help point children in the right direction, but only they have the power to make the change," she said.
Reach Ashlee Griggs at (706) 823-3552.