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Kirtland. Kudos to High School Counselors.

Preparing students with the skills and training they need to be successful is what we do at Kirtland.  But some really important people are preparing students for their futures long before they become Kirtland students.  This Week @ Kirtland, we’re honoring high school counselors for everything they do to help students figure out their paths in life. 

Pam Blamer and Rick Handrich receive Kirtland's "Preparing Students to Be the Future" award.

Pam Blamer and Rick Handrich receive Kirtland’s “Preparing Students to Be the Future” award.

More than 20 counselors from school districts across northern Michigan met in West Branch to collaborate with their peers, learn about recent changes in Dual Enrollment criteria from the experts at the Michigan Department of Education (MDE), and (Surprise!) receive important recognition for their commitment to student success.  To acknowledge these hardworking student advocates, Kirtland is introducing an award to recognize outstanding counselors each year.   

Planning a trip to the grocery store or a family vacation is hard.  Helping hundreds of young adults to plan for their futures can be downright daunting, but it is what high school counselors do for their students each and every day.  With that in mind, we’re excited to announce Kirtland’s first ever “Preparing Students to Be the Future” award.  And 2013 Outstanding Counselor recipients Pam Blamer (Mio AuSable Schools) and Rick Handrich (Fairview Area Schools) definitely deserve this recognition.  

Dual Enrollment changes were presented by the MDE.

Dual Enrollment changes were presented by the MDE.

In her opening remarks to high school counselors, Kirtland Admissions Coordinator Michelle Devine had this to say, “Students throughout northern Michigan would not be making choices to improve their futures through education without your counseling, advising, friendship and support.  Your guidance prepares these young learners to pursue the training and skills they need to become productive and successful members of workforces throughout our communities.”

The first award recipient, Mio AuSable High School’s Pam Blamer, is described by principal Jim Gendernalik as “someone who impressed [me] with how quickly she picked up the role of counselor.  Her above average knowledge of technology and her ability to adapt quickly made Pam the perfect candidate to fill this critical school role.

Counselors from across northern Michigan attended Kirtland's Appreciation Luncheon.

Counselors from across northern Michigan attended Kirtland’s Appreciation Luncheon.

Fairview’s Rick Handrich is another stellar example of someone who does it all for his students.  In addition to teaching, Handrich serves as the sole counselor for the high school, middle school and elementary schools.  “Nearly all Fairview graduates have college credit with the help of Mr. Handrich, whose dedication to his students opens doors for them,” said Kirtland Recruiter Ryan Madis.  “When his students receive their diploma, they are ready for life beyond high school.”

So…the future is an open book for learners of all ages and Kirtland is proud to recognize the ongoing guidance and dedication counselors are sharing with high school students throughout northern Michigan.  Congratulations to our first-ever “Preparing Students to Be the Future” award recipients Pam and Rick.

To learn more about the programs, advising, testing, financial aid and other services available to students, contact 989-275-5000, extension 284, or visit us online.  And, as always, you are invited to drop in and check us out at, follow us on Twitter at, and like us on Facebook at

Kirtland.  Be the future.