Helping students achieve success

High school is a time of personal change and exploration, which can be both exciting and confusing. The Student Services department at Hamilton District Christian High is dedicated to helping students discover and develop their God-given gifts.

To help meet student objectives, the Student Services department offers: academic counseling, academic support, post-secondary planning, leadership and peer support, an electronic and print resource centre, and independent learning program. They also offer a personal assistance program for counseling, conflict resolution and outside referrals. A certified counselor from Shalem Mental Health Network is regularly available by appointment.

The Student Services department is comprised of James Apers, Director, Karin Boonstra, Guidance, and Aline Koiter, Learning Coordinator. Each of their roles is critical to helping our students achieve success and confidence in their learning.

During my time at Hamilton District, I had the pleasure and honour of working with Mrs. Boonstra; an extraordinary guidance counsellor.
Throughout my four years as a student, I was able to work with Mrs. Boonstra in a variety of ways. She was my teacher, my basketball coach, my guidance counsellor, and my friend.  As teenage years can be complex, she helped me rationalize situations and kept me grounded in my decision making. Individuals can be apprehensive reaching out to someone who is involved in so many aspects of their school life due to fears of vulnerability, but my time spent with Mrs. Boonstra brought to life some of my fondest memories of high school.

It is difficult to put into words how valuable my time with Mrs. Boonstra was, but I still benefit from our relationship to this very day. Mrs. Boonstra recognizes individual’s difficulties in life and takes the time to polish each person until she sees them shine. I am extremely grateful for the friendship we built together and continue to carry out today.

–Bethany Schilthuis ’12

There were several times during my years at HD when I felt confused or overwhelmed, and one of the resources I found most valuable during those times was HD’s guidance counselors. The student services team members – Mr. Apers, Mrs. Boonstra, and Mrs. Koiter – are exceptional resources for students who have have questions or concerns, are confused, or simply need someone to talk things through with.

Mr. Apers, Mrs. Boonstra, and Mrs. Koiter all work with students in roles beyond those of student services, which I found to be incredibly helpful. Knowing that the guidance counselor in the student services office was the same teacher whom I had said “good morning” to in the halls or shared a laugh with in the classroom made me more comfortable in raising my questions. Additionally, because Mrs. Boonstra knew who I was outside of her guidance counselling office, she could offer more personalized advice and suggestions. Our discussions felt more like ones between friends rather than between a therapist and a client.

I am incredibly grateful for HD’s guidance counselors and the ways they helped me during my high school years, and I hope that other students can benefit from the student services department in the same ways that I did!

–Serena Hosmar ’16