Ms.Colon: The glue of the iSchool


Ms.Colon poses by her big green door.

Shanai Williams, Copy Editor

Room 415. That’s the door all the way at the end of the hall. That’s where you’re headed. But why? What’s wrong? When did you get in this situation, do you even know? It could be a long dreaded walk or the light at the end of the tunnel.

You finally get to the big green door. It’s closed. You try the handle, but it’s locked. The lights are on though, do you knock? Wait?

You look around the hall uneasily. There’s a class going on next door: Chemistry. You look around some more, staircase to the left, near the door there’s a sign with an arrow. It says in a meeting. Maybe you should leave.

Suddenly, as the door swings open and a student walks out, you’re greeted by a woman wearing a warm smile. You catch a glimpse of the room behind her, it’s colorful. There are tons of posters and sayings, knick knacks, pictures (is that a picture of Mister Rogers?) You look back at this woman who’s still smiling as she gestures for you to come in the room. You can’t help but think: just who is this lady?

This lady is Lizzette Colon, the iSchool’s guidance counselor. Located in room 415, ready and at your service. She knows everything you need to know about anything you need to know. From working papers and schedules to conflict resolution skills and personal matters, she has the answers. Although her answers may sometimes just be pointing students or colleagues in the right direction, she’s always more than happy to help.

“I knew I wanted to help people,” Ms. Colon explained after revealing her initial dream of becoming a doctor. She ended up changing her ambition from doctor to guidance counselor for a few reasons. First, she struggled with the sciences in college, and she knew that there may be struggles in the field as a result.

Colon soon started considered becoming a teacher like her mother, but “ironically she begged me not to,” Ms.Colon explained. Colon enjoyed making connections with children, and at the age of 14 she became a summer camp counselor. Her decision to become a guidance counselor has been a “happy medium.”

As a counselor of 18 years, Colon has come to really love her job. “I love that every day is like an adventure.” She feels that it’s never boring, and she interacts with all different types of students. She said that the downsides of the job are the technical aspects like paperwork and situations when she can’t help a student. It hurts her to see a kid being their own worst enemy and they won’t heed advice, but she is firm believer that “you gotta let a kid fail.”

All around Ms.Colon’s room are quotes, pictures, and toys. She explained that she is deliberate in placing all those items. She knows that not all people are willing to just open up. So the items are meant to spark a conversation. The goal is to create a “a fun space that doesn’t feel very sterile like a hospital.”

Ms. Colon’s job doesn’t end there. She teaches sex-ed and has an a club called iCare, which focuses on community service as well as creating school events. She also has an advisory and does school tours. She works hard to keep the social aspect of the school running smoothly.

Colon’s effort definitely doesn’t go unnoticed. Mollie Zoldan, a sophomore in iCare, gets to see firsthand how “she does so much for the school.” Zoldan explains that in iCare there’s a lot of choice for the members so that the students can get what they want instead of being told what they will get.

Taliyah Bradford, another Sophomore and iCare member as well as advisee of Colon’s, appreciates that “she’ll tell it like it is. She expects a lot from me and it’s good to know that someone doesn’t want to see you not being your best self.” Bradford is comforted in the fact that Ms. Colon is one of the few people she can always go to. “You can tell that even if she’s tired or just wants to go home, she still genuinely cares about you or what you need.”

Outside of being the glue of the iSchool community, she is the glue at home too. A mother to her 11 year old daughter and wife to her husband of 14 years. Considering all that she accomplishes at home and at the iSchool, it’s no wonder why students like Molly Zoldan described her as “a pretty great person, who does a lot … and wants to make sure people are happy.”