The Power of Persistence (#71)

When Mindy Weaver-Flask submitted her graduate school application for School Counseling, the college lost it and told her she had to reapply. Instead of taking that as a sign she shouldn’t be a counselor, Mindy saw it instead as indication to be persistent. In this week’s story, Mindy shares WHY she feels her persistence will pay off.

Encouraging Words for School Counselors
Encouraging Words for School Counselors
The Power of Persistence (#71)
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This Week's Storyteller

Mindy Weaver-Flask is a teacher, writer, and graduate student. She has taught in both private and public schools for over 20 years. She currently teaches English at Greenfield-Central High School. Mindy was nominated as the building level 2018 Teacher of the Year at GCHS.

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Transcript

Matt Fleck:
Hi, everyone, and welcome back to the Encouraging Words for School Counselors podcast. I’m Matt Fleck with Inspire Success. It’s already December and almost Christmas – it’s amazing how fast it goes. Speaking of the holidays, this month we’re asking you for stories of school counseling around the holidays. And we so appreciate those of you who take the time to share those stories with us. 

Melinda Weaver-Flask (or Mindy) is our guest this week and she, like me, went back to college to become a school counselor a little later than most. And she was actually in shock when she received the letter that she had been accepted into her graduate level counseling program. 

Mindy Weaver-Flask:
Wait, I’m really in like, are you serious? Because this has been, you know, since 2000, you know, it’s been 19, 20 years. Well, I got the acceptance letter 20 years after I had written in my Franklin Covey planner that I wanted to go to grad school to get my master’s in school counseling.

Matt Fleck:
The unfortunate thing is that Mindy decided to become a school counselor years after her own school counselor told her she didn’t have the right stuff for college or much else. 

Mindy Weaver-Flask:
I’m the fourth out of five children. None of my siblings had gone to college. None of my relatives had gone to college. So that wasn’t even something that I saw as an option. So my high school counselor said, well, you know, Mindy, I think you could work at the mall and you do well. And I thought, damn, I want more than that for myself. Like don’t I want more than that for myself, even though nobody’s telling me that I should want more than that for myself, I want more than that for myself. So in this convoluted way, I started looking like, what do you really want to do? What’s of interest?

Matt Fleck:
Her key interest at the time was to become one of those cool teachers who worked for the Peace Corps. But, her family had no money, so Mindy – somewhat ironically – joined the military to pay for her college so she could go to the Peace Corps. But – it worked, and for the last 20 + years Mindy has been a teacher – a job she REALLY loves. Just a few years ago though, she decided it was time for her to pursue the goal she had written down years before, the goal to become a school counselor. 

Mindy Weaver-Flask:
When I wrote that down in my Franklin planner, people kept on saying, oh, you know, have you find that? And I thought, no, because nobody even told me to go to college. Nobody even said, you know, like these are options. So I thought, no, and I’m Def I’m not material for grad school. I mean, how in the world would they ever let me in, like I was supposed to work at a mall.

Matt Fleck:
But two years ago, Mindy applied and received the shocking notification that she had been accepted to grad school. Now you’d think that would be the beginning of a wonderful new chapter in her life except – that in Mindy’s very first year in the school counseling program – her professor questioned why she wanted to become a counselor ‘at her age’ – and not once but four times. 

Mindy Weaver-Flask:
It’s really interesting because when we talk about the diversity within the counseling program, and I still think we have some blind spots, I really do. I do. And I’ve seen them. So yeah.

Matt Fleck:
But Mindy is undeterred. She has a dogged determination to help students, especially those who may be too easily overlooked, like she was.  

Mindy Weaver-Flask:
The student that’s Tan’s out still to me the most was in my earliest years of teaching and she made me a better person. She came from a really, really tough background, really tough. She had nothing. I mean, she just, I mean, bills weren’t being paid. She couldn’t even shower daily. You know, sometimes she’d bring me a bag of clothes and I’d have to wash them at the school kind of thing. And, um, Christmas came and I find on my desk this little bear with a little pendant on it, which happened to also be, she knew when my birthday was happened to be the, you know, the, my birthstone and just a little card saying thank you so much for being my teacher. And thank you so much for just listening to me and I, I still have the card and I just thought, oh, oh wow.

There were times where it was so difficult, like to literally physically be in a room with her because she hadn’t bathed and she didn’t have those resources. And I remember thinking like, why the heck doesn’t this kid get more help. She didn’t have anybody to help her. She didn’t know she right. And I remember in that moment, thinking don’t ever, ever take for granted a kid don’t ever not listen, don’t ever put them in a position where they feel like you think you’re better than them. And it just, I don’t even know how to describe it, but I remember I was young and it was the most humbling of moments I had ever had. It just totally knocked me out.  

Matt Fleck:
That one student changed forever the way Mindy saw education and schools in general. And it fueled her passion and determination to keep going, no matter what others say or think. 

Mindy Weaver-Flask:
Yeah, it feels like it’s actually possible now, you know, a year ago. I definitely, you know, wondered, can I get through this? I actually two years. Cause it’s, since I’m in my second year of the program, right. You know, can I get through and is this meant for me? And, and there were times where I just thought, oh, I don’t fit in. Like, you know, this is, this program is really meant for these young people who are freshly out of college. And you know, my own kids could be sitting in the classroom with me. And, and then I had to say, no, I I’m here. Um, I’m allowed at the table might be uncomfortable, but I’m allowed at the table.

Matt Fleck:
Mindy will graduate this spring as a professional school counselor – perhaps not the youngest in her class – but maybe one of the most determined.

It’s at this point in our weekly podcasts that usually implore you to share a story of yours with us  – but I won’t this week – Christmas is on its way and I know you’re stressed enough. But if Mindy’s story had an impact on you – consider the possibility that one of YOUR stories could be a gift for someone else. 

In the meantime, thanks for listening. Be sure to tell your friends and colleagues – the ones you really like – about the Encouraging Words for School Counselors podcast – and we’ll see you next week.