Santos loves her job as a counselor

Santos loves her job as a counselor

Esthela Ramirez

Esthela Ramirez

San Jose City College has many students with many different needs. Some require assistance with making an education plan in order to efficiently earn their degrees. Those who are transferring to or from other colleges need to have their units evaluated. There are also those who need support and guidance when facing academic probation.

Whatever their needs may be, SJCC Counselor and Professor Priscilla Santos has been ready, willing and able to lend a hand.

“I feel proud and confident guiding students. I know this young generation will be the future of the United States,” she said.

Colleagues, friends and students describe her as a friendly person who has a good sense of humor.

“Since I’ve known her, I’ve always seen her smiling and says hello,” said Joanna Kaladro, an SJCC student.

Santos’ hobbies include a love of photography. She said she has hundreds of pictures of her grandparents and relatives. She does not have time to organize because of her busy schedule, but after she retires, her plan is to organize them.

She said she also feels very proud of all the activities she is involved in. For example, she supports students in spring by giving scholarships to students who deserve to be rewarded for the hard work they have done.

Santos mentions that she “Always encourages students to stay at the school.”

She knows when students have problems, the first thing they want to do is drop out of school. She said she wants “to make sure students stay in colleges.”

Santos’ journey has brought her wonderful memories. As a college student, she began to work at San Jose City College. Santos took the Federal Work-Study Program through financial aid. Later, she was hired as a full-time employee. She earned a degree at SJCC. Afterwards, she transferred to San Jose States University.

She decided to work just part-time while earning a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts. Later, she went back to SJSU.

Santos began her journey as a teacher at McKinley Elementary School for about six to seven years. She was determined to succeed and progress in her educational career. She decided go back to SJSU to earn a master’s degree as a counselor and worked part-time at SJCC. The Human Resources at SJCC had an open position for a counselor. She applied and they offered the position to her.

“I have been working as a counselor, instructor, mentor and academy adviser for more than 35 years at SJCC,” Santos said. “I was counseling about 60 percent of the time and helping the Associate Students 40 percent. I love my job and the way I have done it.”

Santos tells her students “to work for your future and do what you enjoy to do. This way you will love to go to work every day.”

Santos said she likes to provide shelter services to homeless in the community and is involved in the Jan Willem House at Kaiser Permanente Hospital.

“This community supports families who have children in the hospital,” Santos said. “The families are allowed to go to the JW House for rest, have a meal and shower. I cook for their families or do the presentations.”

Her classes are required to go to JW House to do community services for about 4 to 7 hours. Students need to set up tours, prepare snacks, do presentations, cook and clean. This is required in order to pass the class.

She does her best to keep in touch with her former students. The day of one of her former student’s graduation, Santos brought her a gift. Claude still has the necklace and remembers her. The student did not have relatives to give her graduation gifts. Santos did not know that she made her happy.

Santos said she will retire at the end of spring semester.

After retirement, she said she hopes to travel around the world and spend more time with her family. She loved her visit to Hawaii and would like to go there again.

“I feel a bit sad leaving everything behind,” Santos said, “but I feel that it’s time to relax.”

Santos said it’s important for students to use their time wisely.

“I encourage students to keep reading and writing during their free time,” Santos said. “When they transfer to the university, the level of the reading and writing will be more difficult, so practicing is good.”

Many students like Santos.

“Santos is a wonderful professor as well as a counselor,” student Guillermo Jimenez said. “I will miss her after she leaves campus.” I always wonder how she’s doing. … She always smiles. … She is a very kind person.”