With college applications looming, the first teacher feature will be spotlighting Ms. Cathy Imbesi-Ginos. Ms. Ginos has been guiding students through hardships at Tech as a counselor for about nineteen years! With Tech’s competitive spirit, college applications, and teenage drama, Ms. Ginos along with other guidance counselors, have a hectic workload. Get to know her in the interview below and why she became a counselor, what she learned over the years, and what goes on behind the doors of the guidance office.
What college did you go to?
I went to Hunter College for my bachelor’s degree and then I went to St. John’s university for my master’s.
What did you major in?
For my bachelor’s degree, I majored in psychology and my master’s in education in school counseling.
Why did you decide to become a counselor?
That’s an interesting question. When I was a teenager, I would always love to read books about psychology, especially about paranormal psychology which deals with things like ghosts.
Yeah, I swear. I loved haunted houses. I just found it very fascinating. And I really, honestly, always thought about what makes people behave in certain ways, like what makes people tick.
When I started college, I was actually going for nursing. So, I went to nursing school. I volunteered at Coney Island Hospital because I grew up in Brooklyn. I volunteered as a nursing assistant and I loved it. But then, at some point in college I realized that that wasn’t what I wanted to do so then I switched my major to psychology.
Your son is in college. Did you let him choose a college far away or did you tell him to stay close?
I actually encouraged him to go far away. I’m very adventurous, I love to travel, and see different places so I always feel that college is a time in your life that you can go somewhere else for four years and experience something new, like different from where you grew up.
Would you give the same advice to seniors?
Yes, absolutely! Also, definitely pick a school that you love and do what you love.
How much are you involved in the college application process?
My workload increases a little because of writing letters of recommendations but for the most part the college office handles aspects related to the application itself.
Anything crazy/ whacky that happens to applicants?
Nothing really weird happened to an applicant. Well, the only thing that really puzzles me is that, every year, students who are absolutely outstanding, remarkable students with very high GPA’s, are well-rounded, participate in a lot of community service and activities in school, have jobs and they still don’t get into certain colleges that they may have wanted to get into. So, that whole piece is a little frustrating. A lot of times you feel like, wow that kid really deserved to get into that school but you just never know, it’s just so unpredictable. It happens with any school.
Why do you think that is?
I think it really depends on the pool of applicants. They come from so many different areas. From other schools, other states, internationally. I think it has a lot to do with male to female ratio, racial backgrounds, financial backgrounds; schools have to take a certain number of kids from every area.
Do freshman come into the guidance office? What do they usually ask about?
Freshman usually tend to come in because they’re struggling a little with the transition. Something that I hear from a lot of freshman, is that they feel that they are not as smart as everybody else. I think because we are a competitive school, sometimes they feel like other kids are doing better than they are, even though they may not be. Like if you looked at their PupilPath and their grades they probably all have very similar grades but they still feel like they’re doing poorly in comparison.
So, a lot of people do come for emotional support instead of just college advice?
Yeah, definitely. Kids talk about anything here. Sometimes, it could be family issues going on, relationship issues, friendship issues, conflicts with teachers…
What are the busiest parts of the year?
September and June are the busiest months.
June is terrible. June, we’re certifying kids for graduation, doing diplomas, issuing senior awards. I’d say June is the busiest time of the whole year for guidance counselors when teachers and students are beginning to wind down and September is very busy with programming, and getting settled in, and helping kids sort out the school year issues.
Any last words to the senior class of 2016?
I’m going to miss you guys! Well, here are my last words of wisdom, never be afraid to pursue your dreams. Because, honestly, you how many times I’ve heard students say, ‘I love art or music but my parents would never let me pursue that in college because it’s not a realistic profession’? I completely disagree with that. I think you should 100% go for the thing that you love and that is so important for you guys. It is really is.
Anything else you want to tell me?
I love being a guidance counselor and I consider myself very fortunate to be able to work with a group of kids that are just, amazing. I learn a lot from you guys too and I’ll definitely miss you guys very much!
It wasn’t hard to figure out which athlete Ms. Ginos absolutely adores after a quick glance around her office. This led to discovering a very interesting photograph…
How did you meet Derek Jeter?
Well I went to go see the game at Yankee Stadium in 1996. It was on my birthday. They lost that game so after that me and my family went to go eat at All Star Cafe, which isn’t there anymore. My ex-husband knew the waiter so he said he would find us a very good seat. Turns out that Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, who didn’t play on the same team at the time, but were still very good friends were eating at the same restaurant. He seated us at the table right next to theirs and then introduced us! We got to take a picture together and Derek even kissed me on the cheek. It was like the best birthday gift ever. Looking back, I guess I should’ve gotten a picture with Alex Rodriguez, I didn’t even know who he was at the time!
By Shivanie Rambaran