By: Rohith Raghavan—Correspondent
The Sharon High School counseling department has been graced with the arrival of a new adjustment counselor: Ms. Shaniqua Simmons. The job involves connecting with students and helping them work through social and emotional issues. Simmons joins Mr. Balan on the roster of SHS adjustment counselors.
Originally from Massachusetts, Simmons was born in Boston but spent most of her childhood in Florida. She came back to the Bay State when she attended Regis College and received her Bachelor’s in Social Work, graduating in 2013. Simmons also completed her Master’s in Social Work at Simmons University.
Simmons made it clear that her extensive experience as a social worker was a critical part of her background. “Before I started working at Sharon, I was working for the Department of Children and Families as a social worker,” Simmons said.
“I’ve been in the social work field for over ten years now and worked at multiple jobs such as residential facilities. I’ve worked at a day program for adults that have developmental disabilities,” she added.
After working at the DCF for four years, Simmons realized that she wanted to try something different. “It’s a child welfare agency, so some tough conversations can be had and just things of that nature having to attend court, just amongst many other things that we had to do in that role,” Simmons said.
“I like working with children and families. It was just time for a change,” she added.
When Simmons saw the opening for adjustment counselor at SHS, she felt that her background would make her a good fit. “I saw that Sharon High had the need, and I applied back in June,” she said.
So far, the transition to SHS has been smooth, as Simmons gets to know more and more of the community. “I think that the staff has been very awesome since I’ve started. Everyone is just very nice, friendly, introduces himself to me if I need help with anything,” she said. “And the students seem like good kids,” she added.
But she also highlighted her goal to continue to meet and form connections with the students at Sharon High School. “I’m new to the school, so I just want to build good relationships with students,” Simmons explained.
“I’m excited to work with teens. I don’t think I have worked with teens before specifically, so it’s new for me to be working,” Simmons added.
During her free time, Simmons can be found relaxing at her home and watching her favorite TV shows, including The Office. “I watched that show four times through. So usually on weekends I just like binge watching stuff. I’m trying to get into Stranger Things. I’ve heard that it’s really good,” she said.
The new adjustment counselor also learns Spanish as a second language, with the goal of being multilingual. “I know a good amount of Spanish. I’m not 100% fluent, but I’d say I probably know like 80% to 85% of the language, so I’m still learning it because I do want to be fluent,” Simmons said.
Simmons hopes that she can make an impact on the SHS community by bonding with students and listening to them. “I know students come in here all day and they might tell me about an issue that they have,” she said.
“It feels really good to see a student the next day and they might be feeling better. Sometimes students will pop in and tell me to have a good weekend or ask me how my weekend was,” she added.
“I haven’t worked in a school before, so this is all just a new experience. I’m excited to be here,” she said.