Harrison Takes Reins Of LAHS Natural Helpers

Natural Helpers hold a ‘bucket challenge’ to fill buckets with reasons to be grateful at Los Alamos High School. Photo by Gina Gonzales


Michelle Harrison is one of the many new faces at Los Alamos High School this year. Harrison works as the freshmen counselor and also has added the title of Natural Helpers coordinator to her business card.

“As a first year counselor, I have a lot to learn, but I am thankful to be here and appreciate the support and encouragement I have received from Los Alamos High School staff and students,” Harrison said.

Harrison has hit the ground running, working with students and staff to make the transition from eighth to ninth grade successful in many ways. The counselor background has helped her to identify potential leaders for the JJAB supported program, and to identify topics important to the new ninth grade class.

“The task of sponsoring the Natural Helpers has been a tremendous responsibility, one that I was nervous to undertake,” Harrison said. “I was fortunate to receive training at the beginning of the year from JoAnn Sartorius, a Licensed Independent Social Worker and state representative of Prevention New Mexico.”

Sartorius’ training as well as the support of new LAHS Principal, Dr. Debbie Belew-Nyquist has made the transition of the program, a successful endeavor with a lot planned for Natural Helpers throughout the year.

One school wide endeavor was to see just how grateful students are by working on the Attitudes of Gratitude Bucket Challenge. The Natural Helpers students, along with Harrison staffed tables for five days to get feedback from students on the many things they are grateful for in their lives.  

One day included students identifying educators that made a difference in their lives and asking the LAHS staff to do the same. After five days of different topics of gratitude, the end goal was to fill a five gallon bucket. The Toppers prevailed in their quest, achieving their goal, which is now on display in A-wing at LAHS.

“My hope is that as we work together to positively impact the school and our community,” Harrison said. “That we will grow closer and realize we have the power to truly impact the lives of others.”

Harrison also hopes the whole community will be led by their example and express their gratitude each and every day in 2015.


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