Over the past few years, the need for positive mental health has become clearer than ever before. As St. Mark’s seeks to address the overall health and wellness of its boys, efforts have been made to bolster the School’s counseling services. For the first time, St. Mark’s began the school year with three counselors on campus working with each Division. In 2020, Dr. Mary Bonsu joined the team as Upper School Counselor, and clinical therapist Bridget Redondo-Doan joined as Lower School Counselor this past January. Dr. Gabby Reed, now in her eighth year at St. Mark’s, serves as Director of Counseling and works directly with the Middle School. In addition, Julie Pechersky, now in her ninth year as Coordinator of Academic Support, helps address the unique needs and learning styles of boys across campus.
“Health and Wellness have been a longstanding priority for St. Mark’s, but these past few years have led us to grow the mental health team and fortify our resources,” said Dr. Gabby. “We want to give the boys the skills they need before they need them.”
Recent events, from the 2019 tornado to the pandemic, have added stress to the lives of everyone in the community. But in many ways, the Counseling Team’s mission is the same as it has always been: to provide boys with skills to fill their “mental health toolboxes” and prepare them for whatever challenges they might face.
With dedicated counselors in each Division, the Counseling Team can focus on the myriad and varied needs of each age group. In Lower School, Mrs. Bridget teaches lessons on foundational social-emotional topics and works one-on-one with students on concepts and social skills that are developmentally more common in younger boys. In Middle School, as boys discover and explore their own identities, Dr. Gabby focuses on character development and self-regulation. And in the Upper School, Dr. Mary is teaching Health and Wellness in the classroom and meeting one-on-one as boys work on building their best selves.
“We are focused on giving boys the skills they need to face today’s challenges as well as the challenges of the future,” said Dr. Gabby. “And now, when we encounter a boy who is struggling or who needs some extra assistance coping, we are there in each division to provide individualized care.”
Students and parents who are interested in accessing the Counseling Team are welcome to contact their division counselor, or simply stop by the Counseling Office (Centennial Hall 126):