Counseling Program Informs and Entertains Class of 2024

Freshmen enjoyed a half-day program of mapping, mindfulness, and magic on Wednesday, October 14. The Counseling Department’s morning seminar offered two speakers, followed by a performance by magician John Cassidy.

Beth Ziehmer from Mapping Your Future, a nonprofit organization helping students, families, and schools navigate the higher education and student loan processes, presented a webinar on “How to Make High School Count.” Mapping your Future has partnered with ACT to provide information about planning for education after high school – beginning with the 9th grade year.  The students used the app Kahoot to interact during the presentation, giving their input on target careers, ideal colleges, personal strengths, and activities for their portfolio.

Next, in conjunction with Mental Health Awareness week, clinical social worker and therapist Linda Falasco, LCSW, LICSW. Ms. Falasco emphasized how to be mindful of your mental health during the pandemic, a challenge new to everyone. She encouraged the students to stay calm, reach out to others, stay connected and stay well. Once they give this gift to themselves, she told the students, they will be positioned to overcome many things that may come their way. Lastly, she reminded the girls about not focusing on the small stuff of life, because, “God’s got you!”

Since one of the messages the students heard about in the morning was the need for more “balance” in their lives, the Counseling Team thought they would reward the freshman audience for their respectful and attentive listening with some good old fashioned FUN. Enter John Cassidy. Mr. Cassidy (Instagram @johncassidyshow)is a professional comedian, magician, and balloon artist. He has appeared numerous times on television as either a stand-up comedian, magician or as a Guinness Book of Records celebrity, and has been a guest on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Martha Stewart Living, The Weakest Link, NBC’s Today Show, Live With Regis and Kelly, and the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon four times. He is a frequent performer aboard Disney Cruise Lines and has performed at the White House five times.

Mr. Cassidy’s assistant is his wife and Villa Maria grad Jennifer Hubbert Cassidy ’89. Together they had the freshmen laughing and clapping with surprise at their interactive show of card tricks, non-stop jokes, balloon animals, and more. A number of students became part of the act when they went onstage to participate in various tricks. The high energy performance was a great way to close and informative and fun program.