Helping students dream big: School counselors and their importance to the Foothill Tech community


Rihanna Samples

Juana Vega sits in her office, smiling at the camera while holding the sign given to her for National School Counseling Week. Many students, and parents as well, came together and filled out nice notes for the counselors that were then printed out and put on a sign for each of the four counselors, showing the school’s appreciation.

Amber Duhs and Rihanna Samples

Steve Boyd proudly displays the poster made for him in honor of National School Counseling Week on the wall outside of his office. Compiled on the poster are many different kind words and notes of thankfulness from both students and parents. At the bottom of the poster, a student taped their personalized message to Boyd showing how much they care and appreciate him as a counselor. (Rihanna Samples)

Every year, National School Counseling Week is celebrated nationwide as well as on the Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) campus. This year, the theme was “Helping Students Dream Big.” Foothill Tech uses this week to highlight the importance of the work that school counselors do, and to show the student body’s appreciation for them. The Foothill Tech campus has four counselors: Jane Napora, Steve Boyd, Juana Vega and Gregory Jordan. All of the counselors contribute to the environment of student support on campus, whether it be for academic or other purposes. 

To acknowledge all of the hard work the counselors at Foothill Tech do, an email was sent out to all students and parents requesting them to fill out a Google Form with a thankful note to the counselors. All of the notes were compiled, printed and put on a large poster board for the counselors to keep. Most of the counselors chose to display these posters either in their offices or on their office doors. 

In honor of National School Counseling Week, each counselor was interviewed and asked a series of questions to get to know them better, and to give students more knowledge about what their jobs at Foothill Tech entail.

Steve Boyd

Steve Boyd, the assigned counselor for students whose last names start with A-Gr, has been a school counselor for 31 years, but he did not start as one. “I graduated from college with a degree in psychology, and I was going to be a therapist,” he explained. Boyd’s first job was in a group home working with adolescents, and then in a psychiatric facility, but “After doing that for a year, [working with them] was really hard” and he “saw school counseling as something that would not be as hard.” He also saw it as an opportunity, where he could “actually work with people before they get hospitalized, to some degree.” 

Boyd has been at Foothill Tech since its inception, remembering when the school was so small that he knew almost every student. “I think a few of my favorite memories were when it was such a small school, and I was just out a lot — not in the office but out supervising, because everyone did and I knew everyone.” Boyd’s kids are also Foothill Tech alumni, whom he recollects knowing even more students through. He finished by explaining that his favorite part of his job is “Just being able to help students with whatever situations come up, because growing up is hard.”

[Counseling] is a great job; it’s a really great job.

— Steve Boyd

Jane Napora

With 18 years of counseling experience, Jane Napora is the counselor for students whose last names are between Gu-O. She started counseling within Ventura Unified School District (Ventura Unified) in 2013 and has been a school counselor at Foothill Tech for four years. Napora started out as a teacher and was inspired to become a school counselor by her husband. She liked the idea of working one-on-one with students and being able to help them through daily life challenges. She said that she became a school counselor because she “just wanted to stay in education, but maybe do it from a different angle.”

Alongside counseling students, Napora is also the owner of Odin and Meatball, the two service dogs that frequently make appearances at Foothill Tech. Some of her favorite memories are from Air Guitar — especially last year’s, where she was able to sit with Odin, picnic with the students and watch Odin catch snacks from the students. She also stated that some of her fondest memories include seeing students at graduation, especially seeing “students that maybe struggled and barely made it, be so proud with their cap and gown on and finishing high school.” Napora also offered insight into how flexible counselors have to be by saying, “Every day is different. You may have one thing planned, and then eight in the morning changes.”

Juana Vega

Juana Vega counsels students whose last names are between P-Z. She has been a dedicated counselor at Foothill Tech for 12 years, and before that was a counselor at De Anza Middle School for four years. When asked about what inspired her to become a school counselor, Vega explained that “I would never kill a student’s dream of whatever they wanted to do in their life. That was my experience [in high school], so I don’t want to crush anybody’s dreams… That’s what drew me to just want to help students along the way.”

After working hard and meeting with students, Jane Napora takes a break and holds a fuzzy stuffed animal, one of the many supportive items for students in her office. Napora makes her office a comforting and welcoming place for all students no matter if she’s their counselor or not. (Rihanna Samples)

With so many years of experience, Vega has many memories at Foothill Tech, but said that some of her favorite memories are when “students come back after they’ve graduated from college or a university. Just seeing them be successful, that’s always very rewarding.” She continued to explain how she loves making good relationships with her students because she enjoys how fun high school students can be. Vega wanted to leave students with a little bit of insight to her job as a counselor, saying, “Just know that we truly care and we try our best. You know, we’re human, and we make mistakes along the way. But I can honestly say, no matter who’s walking through that door, I’m there to always give my 110 percent.”

Gregory Jordan

Gregory Jordan has been working at Foothill Tech since the 2020-21 school year. He is a Student Assistance Program Counselor (SAP). In addition to that, he runs the Alateen student support group at Foothill Tech and is the social and emotional support counselor at El Camino High School. He was not available for an interview due to scheduling conflicts, but more information can be found on his website here.

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