After one and a half years as the MVHS College and Career Coordinator, Jamie Tabuchi will take on the newly-created position of College Counselor. In her new role, Tabuchi will offer students personalized guidance similar to that available from often-expensive private college counselors.
Tabuchi described how her new position would provide opportunities to work with students on a personal level not available in her previous role.
“Before, when we had the workshops or the presentations it was kind of just general, broad information. Now a student could come in and if [they say], you know, ‘I really want to go to schools on the East Coast and I’m looking at bioengineering,’ [I can] sit down and look at the stats with that student … and help them build a college list and then determine a plan for how to apply.”
Tabuchi hopes to talk with all upperclassmen at some point during their time at MVHS.
“I feel that is a very ambitious goal, but that is something I really want to accomplish … I want to be able to make a connection with … pretty much every student at some point, either their junior or senior year.”
Tabuchi says that the connections she hopes to make with students were not part of her own high school experience. Students at the high school she attended received very little counseling, leading her to consider its role in determining their future.
“I didn’t understand why some of my friends or peers ended up in different places and I wondered if the support that they received in high school really affected the outcomes.”
As a high school student in Southern California, Jessica Yazdani entered the college admissions process knowing virtually nothing.
Her parents, both immigrants, were unfamiliar with the system. Her high school offered little guidance. She could only rely on herself.
“I just remember it being very scary,” Yazdani said. “I had to understand the process by myself, I had to be very independent … I had to figure it out kind of on my own. … I would’ve killed to have, you know, a college fair.”
Yazdani said, though, that the difficulty of her experiences surrounding the college process played a central role in the path that would lead her to becoming the new College and Career Coordinator at MVHS.
She will assume the role that Tabuchi held previously, which includes planning visits from college representatives, educating families about financial aid, and working with students in search of a job.
Yazdani has spent her professional career in the college and career counseling field, first helping students with disabilities succeed in employment and most recently working as a substitute college and career advisor at Cupertino High School.
Yazdani cites a long-running desire to find a career where she could help people as her motivation for pursuing the counseling field. She says this passion was first realized when, just a couple months into her first role as a job developer, she had already helped ten students find jobs.
“Just to see how meaningful that was to them meant the world to me,” Yazdani said.
Yazdani also emphasized the importance of combining work experience with education for a successful career. She pointed out that, in a world where a college education is becoming commonplace, employers are “probably going to go with the person that has the experience along with the education.”
Yazdani’s passion for her new role at MVHS comes down to providing support that she never received while in high school.
“There were things along the way that I really wish I had known while I was [high school]age because I think I just would have been so much better off. I would have been so much more prepared, so much more confident. I started in this field because I want to be that person for kids.”
“I feel right home,” Nancy Rafati said, summing up how the new Tutorial Center Coordinator felt about MVHS after her first week.
Rafati previously managed a contract database for Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. Three years ago, she decided to move into education and started a nonprofit aimed at helping elementary school students be more confident when going back to school. Rafati credits her friends with helping her make the transition from industry to education.
“All of [my friends]have been instrumental in me, grow as a person, and my non-profit,” said Rafati.
Rafati said there are many parallels between her work with elementary students and high schoolers.
“As long as you show students that you care … and telling them it is okay to fail, just keep trying,” Rafati said, describing the culture she hopes to promote in the Tutorial Center.
Rafati reflected on her own high school experience when she was imagining what she wanted the Tutorial Center to look like.
“My school years, when I came here, was very difficult time,” Rafati said, “I didn’t understand the language. I only had one teacher who was welcoming.”
Rafati said she believes that unlike her high school, MVHS is more inclusive and appreciates their diversity.
“I hope [the Tutorial Center]continues to be a welcoming place … I try be greeting everyone when they come in, I try to reach [out]to everyone as much as I can,” Rafati said.
When asked about the plans for the Tutorial Center’s future, Rafati said she hopes to learn more first before making changes.
“I think everything is actually really well run, so if I can add things to it, I would be open to that,” Rafati said. “ At this time I am trying what works for the students, the tutors.”
Rafati’s biggest learning experience so far was the extent to which upperclassmen come to the Tutorial Center, but hopes that underclassmen, especially freshmen, come more.
“Maybe in a few months when I work here longer, I will have more of an input, but right now it’s my first week and I am a student too,” Rafati said.