Student News

Simmons, Delano win school counseling program awards

Photo of Justin Simmons with Patrick Akos and Sandra Martinez-Zuniga

Pictured: Justin Simmons (center) with previous award winner Sandra Martinez-Zuniga and professor Patrick Akos

Photo of Allison Delano with John Galassi and Kristy Newitt

Pictured: Allison Delano (center) with previous award winner Kristy Newitt and professor John Galassi

Justin Simmons and Allison Delano, both masters of education candidates in the School of Education’s school counseling program, were presented awards from the program Monday night.

The awards were presented at the school counseling program’s annual orientation session for the entering cohort.

Simmons, of Durham, was awarded the Galassi-Brown Advocacy Award, which is presented annually to the school counseling student who is judged by the faculty to have gone beyond expectations and demonstrated exceptional advocacy for the students he or she serves, the schools where he or she works and the school counseling profession.

Simmons interned during the past year at Durham’s Hillside High School. He is expected to complete his M.Ed. in August.

“Justin has a strong initiative to be active where he feels he can help,” said nominator Kevin Ellis, a counselor at Hillside. “Although we have a college advisor in our department, he quickly established a caseload of seniors who came to him on a regular basis because they trusted his advice and knowledge.”

Last year’s Galassi-Brown Advocacy Award winner, Sandra Martinee-Zuniga, said Simmons was a natural leader who will accomplish big things in his career.

“He built remarkable connections with students at the school and has a drive to create an environment where all students can succeed,” she said.

The Galassi-Brown Advocacy Award was named after John Galassi and Duane Brown, professors at the School of Education who have contributed more than 60 years of combined service.

Delano, of Alexandria, Va., was awarded the W.D. Perry Award, which recognizes the student who is judged by the faculty to have demonstrated excellence of achievement in academics, outstanding performance in the counseling field coupled with unwavering adherence to ethical and professional standards, and demonstrated student leadership.

Delano interned at Carrboro High School during the past year. She is expected to receive her M.Ed. in August.

Nominator Mary Gratch, a school counselor at Carrboro High, said that in 18 years of working as a school counselor and supervising graduate students, Delano is the best that she has worked with.

“From the start it has been clear that Allie has a feel for the balance between art and science that is required in this work,” Gratch said. “She has a talent for active listening and reflection and is eager to receive feedback in order to improve her practice.  Students warm quickly to her and clearly trust her to support and help them.”

Gratch said Delano had initiated several research projects that have improved their counseling program and had led a racial identity group for African-American female students.

“I am proud to see our profession move forward with the involvement of young people such as Allie,” Gratch said. “She is already a great counselor, strong collaborator, talented educator, and a caring and considerate colleague.”

The W.D. Perry Award was named for Dr. William D. Perry, a former full professor who provided more than 30 years of leadership at the School. After coming to the UNC-Chapel Hill in 1939, Perry exerted a major influence in the development both of the counseling program and the Guidance and Testing Center. The Center continued to serve the University for many years after Perry retired in 1973.