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Harrison Welcomes New School Counselor

Maya Vemulapalli

                  With new demands that have been placed on school counselors stemming from recent legislation, as well as the exponentially growing number of students that are coming to Harrison High School, the school has responded to this challenge with an addition to the staff of counselors.

                  Originally, the school administration planned to hire Mr. Bill Kannel, an intern at Harrison during the 2013-2014 school year who also assisted with the “Every 15 Minutes” program, for the open position. However, due to an unforeseen conflict occurring just a few weeks before the start of the new school year, Kannel was unable to fill the position. Fortunately, a replacement was quickly found, and we can now welcome Mr. Larry Kennedy to our Harrison counseling staff.

Mr. Larry Kennedy - New Counselor 

                  “I am excited,” Kennedy says about his new job at Harrison. “I am looking forward to interacting with students, helping students with future plans, and working with the counseling staff.”

Residing in Avon, Indiana, Kennedy admits his biggest adjustment to the new job is the length of his commute.

“In my old job, I could be at work in less than ten minutes. I currently drive about an hour and fifteen minutes each way.”

A good counselor must advise students not only on their studies, but also give career counseling. Kennedy brings a wealth of experience to Harrison.  Previously, Kennedy has had multiple occupations, including working as an instructional assistant, a supervisor for UPS, a security guard both at Sears and the Indianapolis Airport, and a private investigator (he is one of only fifty instructors in the US certified to teach the class “Managing the Lost Person Incident”).

Outside of school, Kennedy serves as a member of the Indiana Guard Reserve where he teaches Wilderness Search and Rescue. In his free time, he enjoys playing volleyball, reading, working in his yard, and going for an occasional bike ride.

Kennedy believes that his past life experiences help bring a different perspective to his role as counselor. “I know what’s out there, I know what it’s like to unload UPS trucks for eight bucks an hour. It’s a hot sweaty job…. I’ve had several different degrees as well, so I know you may be in college or getting ready to go to college and not really know what you want to do. And that’s alright, that’s an okay thing,” he says, noting that a change in career path is experienced by many of today’s workforce.

What advice does Kennedy want to give to the students he counsels?

“High school [is] about making sure you don’t limit your adult opportunities. So when we’re scheduling classes, I’m going to say ‘Okay, by taking this class, what are you eliminating that you could do when it comes to college. Are you not going to be able to take a fourth year of math?’” It is this dedication to the students’ future success that makes Kennedy such a welcome addition to the HHS staff.

“Student Services Staff members are thrilled to have an additional counselor join the department,” says Melissa Tanner, a fellow Harrison counselor. “This change has resulted in lower caseloads, allowing counselors to be more available to students, which is a high priority. Each counselor has already felt a difference in the amount of time that they are able to spend assisting those enrolled at HHS and their families. Mr. Kennedy is a great addition to the Student Services Department.”

Kennedy says his first days at the school have been very good, adding, “The other counselors have been very helpful when I have had questions.”

He credits fellow staff members for helping make his transition to HHS as easy as possible. “The staff I work with are excellent here, they’ve had this year set up pretty good.” Giving a smile, he adds, “We haven’t had a lot of crunch time yet. That’s to come.”