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National School Counseling Week: Counselor Spotlight with Ms. Christine Burkhart

Twenty years ago, Ms. Christine Burkhart and her family relocated to Rock Hill, South Carolina. In addition to raising her three children, she has worked for the Rock Hill School District and Catawba Mental Health since living here and has continuously made a positive impact on the community. Her background in community counseling has allowed her a rewarding career that includes being a ParentSmart educator, school-based therapist and school counselor.  “I have been blessed to work with mental health professionals and educators in programs that support our youth and families,” Ms. Burkhart said about her career. Currently, as one of the school counselors at Northwestern High School, she thoroughly enjoys empowering students to achieve both their long-term and short-term goals.

Ms. Burkhart is a big advocate for emotional health and the need for students to have a safe environment to explore their thoughts and feelings. She believes mental health counselors in our school district are a “necessary resource and integral part of the team supporting our students.” These valuable resources are available to the students and Ms. Burkhart knows the importance of informing students who need them. “I frequently refer students to the program with confidence that our mental health counselors can make a difference with a student,” said Ms. Burkhart.

She hopes students feel comfortable talking to her because she is passionate about providing guidance and support as they mold their plans for a successful future. “I want them to gain self-awareness and confidence in their abilities.  I want them to learn that talking to me or others when there are challenges is encouraged.”

When asked about moments in her career that stand out to her the most she replied, “the most rewarding moments have been occasions when I re-connect with a student that I counseled when I was working as a school-based therapist in the elementary schools. It is humbling to know what some students have had to endure in their youth yet have persevered to get to the graduation ceremony.”

Everyone has someone that they consider their role model; and school counselors are no exception. To Ms. Burkhart, that special person is her grandmother.  “My grandmother became a psychiatrist in the 1930’s, a challenging time in history for women,” Ms. Burkhart said, “My grandmother exemplified many qualities that I admired such as her compassion and attentiveness to others.  She was ‘my person’ growing up and encouraged me to follow my dreams.”

Outside of school, Ms. Burkhart enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and reading.

Christine Burkhart photo