It is with great pleasure that the school counseling program recognizes Miss Lauren Mills with the 2018 Wardian Leadership Award. Lauren returned to Gonzaga pursue her master’s degree in school counseling with a passion for supporting youth and strengthening her community.  A natural helper, listener, problem solver, organizer, and cheerleader, Lauren began this journey with so many skills and talents.  Still, she jumped into this program with both feet, stretching herself both personally and professionally, and working diligently to be outstanding in her work.  “Good enough” is not “good enough” for Lauren; she gives her best in all she does. During her time in the program, Lauren consistently volunteered her time to support programs within the department and in the community.  She is always one of the first people to say, “yes,” when offered an opportunity.  Lauren thinks efficiently, compassionately, and with extra attention to potential barriers to access and services that others may experience. While being early in her career, she fully demonstrates what it means to be a contemporary school counselor.  She is data-informed, student-centered, and understands how to implement an ASCA-aligned school counseling program. The combination of her personal gifts and characteristics, as well as her presence as a collaborative professional in the work, will continue to serve her well in this role.

Her peers shared the following:

Lauren exemplifies leadership in multiple areas of her life! One way that sticks out to me is within our cohort. From the beginning, she has always been willing to host study sessions, game nights, and get togethers. She is very passionate about spending time with everyone outside of class and has a constant willingness to open her home and adjust her schedule to meet everyone’s needs!  These events and gatherings have strengthened our friendship and bond throughout the program!

Lauren is a great leader because she always goes above and beyond to help others.  It is apparent her dedication to students, she attends meetings and visits students at her site even when she is not scheduled to be there. In juggling school, her job, and internship, Lauren still managed to support extra projects like the advisory project at Garry Middle School and made extra visits to at St. John Vianney Catholic School to support students in crises.

Lauren is an intelligent, motivated, and enthusiastic individual. She is joy to be around.  She makes everyone around her smile and is truly a leader in our community!

Her site supervisor shared:

Lauren is the strongest counseling intern that I have had the pleasure of working with and is multitalented. Everything she undertakes is organized, well communicated, timely and of the highest quality. She brings her wisdom and maturity, tremendous skills, insight and compassion in her work as a school counselor.

Throughout her practicum and internship, Lauren faced many challenging situations, involving trauma impacted students and families, domestic violence, mental health issues, homelessness, abuse and neglect.  A couple of weeks ago, our school faced a significant loss with the death of a beloved teacher.  Lauren not only brought her typical best self to work to support all of us (including me!).  She also personally set up a warm and inviting room for crisis team members to work with hurting students and brought wonderful homemade treats for staff.  Lauren’s instincts and personal touches consistently go above and beyond.

One needs to observe Lauren for just a few minutes to see how gifted she is with children. She creates an environment of tremendous warmth and trust and students feel genuinely cared about. She maintains high visibility, and developed positive relationships with students in all settings, including the hallways, lunch room and playground. With her consistently calm and kind demeanor, she provides an atmosphere where children grow and thrive. With her support, students found a safe place to deescalate and work toward restorative problem solving. Lauren truly enhanced our school counseling program, the Roosevelt community and touched all of our lives in positive ways during her time here.

You are an exceptional student, school counselor, and human.  You will continue to do good in this world and positively impact so many youth and families.  What a privilege it has been to learn from and work alongside you.