School Counselor Advocacy and Empowering Students for Post-Secondary Success with Priscilla Grijalva [Episode 93]


Here's What to Expect In This Episode:

After witnessing a student feel defeated about plans to attend community college rather than a University, Priscilla Grijalva knew that she needed to change the narrative. That’s when “Reach Higher Thursdays” were created, leading to more support and celebration for all post-secondary options. 

Priscilla Grijalva is a highly accomplished school counselor with over 18 years of experience and an incredible drive for her students. In our conversation, Priscilla discusses the importance of advocacy and perserverance in helping students overcome obstacles and achieve their educational goals.

You’ll hear about some of the initiatives Priscilla has implemented to broaden awareness of post-secondary options at her school. Her journey is a testament to the power of advocacy and the impact that school counselors can have on their students and communities! 

Topics Covered in This Episode:

  • What the Reach Higher initiative is, and what kind of impact it’s had on Priscilla’s students
  • Advice for counselors who don’t have a mentor to lean on
  • Examples of initiatves Priscilla put in place to increase college access and broaden awareness for post-secondary success options
  • Building partnerships with your staff and community
  • How networking with educational and community partners can play into college initiatives 
  • What Priscilla would say to school counselors who don’t see themselves as a leader in their school

Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

Meet Priscilla Grijalva:

Priscilla Grijalva has been a school counselor for 18 years where she has experience working at the middle and high school level. She led Citrus Hills Intermediate School to its first Recognized ASCA Model Program recognition and was the first middle school to earn the recognition in CNUSD.

She led AUSD to five national recognitions by Former First Lady Michelle Obama for Reach Higher and Voter Registration efforts. She has served as a University Adjunct Instructor, University of California Application Reader, TN Achieves Mentor, High School Basketball Coach, and hosts the educational podcast Reach Higher Riverside.

She serves on local, state, and national school counselor committees to have a voice in the decisions that affect students. She was featured in Forbes 2X for her work with Reach Higher and was recognized by the U.S. Air Force as a Distinguished Educator.

Priscilla was named the 2022 National Life Changer of the Year and the 2023 California Woman of the Year (AD 58). She is a champion for students in assisting them to reach for higher education or training through financial aid.

Connect with our Guest:

Read the transcript for this episode:

Lauren 0:00
Hello podcast listeners, Lauren here. I am the host of high school counseling conversations. And I feel honored that you would join me for another week of this podcast. So usually you’re used to hearing my individual voice sharing a topic with you. But today I have a guest. I have a really special guest who has a lot to say about college and post secondary options along with school counselor advocacy, which are all topics that I love talking about.

Lauren 0:27
She comes highly decorated with lots of accolades that she’s just so humble when she talks about them. I think you’re gonna love hearing her story and hear where she has come from in her career as a professional as a school counselor. So let me introduce you to Priscilla and then I’ll tell you a little bit about what we’re going to talk about. And then we’ll jump into the show

Lauren 0:46
You got into this profession to make a difference in your students lives, but you’re spread thin by all of the things that keep getting added to your to do list. I can’t create more hours in the day, but I can invite you into my counselor clique where you’ll finally catch your breath.

Lauren 1:07
Come with me as we unpack creative ideas and effective strategies that will help you be the counselor who leaves a lifelong impact on your students. I’m Lauren tingle your high school counseling hype girl here to help you energize your school counseling program and remind you of how much you love your job.

Lauren 1:26
Priscilla Grijalva has been a school counselor for 18 years where she has experience working at the middle and high school levels. She’s led citrus Hills Intermediate School to its first recognized Aska model program recognition and was the first middle school to earn recognition in CNUSD, she led a USD to five national recognitions by former First Lady Michelle Obama for reach higher and voter registration efforts.

Lauren 1:50
She has served as a university adjunct instructor, University of California application reader, Tennessee achieves mentor high school basketball coach and host the educational podcast called Retire Riverside. I love having a fellow podcaster on the show too. That’s so fun.

Lauren 2:06
She serves on local state and national school counselor committees to have a voice in the decisions that affects students. She was featured in Forbes two times for her work with retire and was recognized by the US Air Force as a distinguished educator.

Lauren 2:20
Priscilla was named the 2022 national life changer of the year, and the 2023, California Woman of the Year. She’s a champion for students in assisting them to reach for higher education or training through financial aid. As you can see, Priscilla comes highly accomplished and I knew before we even got started that she has so much to offer podcast listeners.

Lauren 2:41
In this episode, in particular, Priscilla and I talk about her involvement in college accessibility and high school counselor advocacy, which I already mentioned some of my favorite things to talk about. She’s made quite a splash in her advocacy efforts, which has come as a result of her confidence growing with her years of experience in the field. I

Lauren 2:59
hope you love this episode as much as I love chatting with Priscilla. Let’s get into the special guest interview today. Hey, Priscilla, thank you for joining me on high school counseling Conversations. I’m really excited for the value that you’re going to bring to listeners today.

Priscilla 3:13
Well, thank you. Thank you for having me on your podcast,

Lauren 3:16
I have already told listeners about all of your accolades and the places that you are involved and that you advocate for school counselors, which is amazing and awesome, by the way, but I would love to first just dive right in and talk about your involvement with the Reach Higher initiative because I know that that is something that you are really involved in. So tell us like what that is, how you got familiar with it and why you chose to get involved with Reach Higher.

Priscilla 3:43
Well, thank you. But started back in about 2014 When former First Lady Michelle Obama spoke at the American School Counselor Association Conference. It just seemed like she really understood what we were going through as school counselors. And I really love helping students go on for more education or training.

Priscilla 4:02
And I know that there’s not just one pathway for students. So when she started to promote all options beyond high school that really encouraged me, and motivated me to do more for my students. So I left that conference all fired up. And I went back to my school and now we used to have a college club and college Thursdays.

Priscilla 4:23
And so I started to implement different things to be more equity focus for our students. And I even remember having a conversation with one of my students. He wanted to go to community college, and I followed up with him at the end of the year. And I said, Hey, what are you doing after high school? Are you still following through with your plan? And he had said, No, he’s not. He’s not going to college.

Priscilla 4:44
And I said, Well, you told me you were going to community college. And he said, Mr. Hall, well, that’s not college. And I said it is and he said, Well, every Thursday they promote college Thursdays, and everyone’s wearing University shirts. So from that point on, I started to call it reach higher Thursdays.

Lauren 5:02
Because you wanted to change like the narrative of that, but like, Hey, you are you are going to college? That’s what this is.

Speaker 2 5:08
Yeah, yeah, I wanted people to know that, that that was important. And it was a big deal. And we support all options, right. And so when we started to change the name to Reach Higher Thursdays, and like got the word out about what it was, hey, you can wear any college CTE military, apprenticeship career shirts, right?

Priscilla 5:26
We want to make sure we support all options. So then the culture started to change. And people started to participate. And we got partners involved, like our local colleges and military, everyone. So then from that point on, then there was this contest that reach higher had put on, and they wanted to promote financial aid. So whoever had the highest FAFSA completion, and also did a video that was was pretty good, I guess you could say you have like a five minute video, then you would possibly be in the running for former First Lady to come to your school for graduation.

Priscilla 6:00
Well, we had hit about 87% ASCA completion rate that year, thanks to our amazing staff and students, and she didn’t come to our school, but we did get a letter. And our students were in her White House video of cool, and they were so excited. Yeah, it was a big deal. And then from that point on, it just kind of grew, it was like, let’s not give up. And even though there was no contest, it was only that one year, me and my students and our staff continue to persevere and continue to reach higher activities.

Priscilla 6:31
So our college going rates and our fasca completion rates. Everything continued to increase every year, because our students were motivated enough often. And it wasn’t just about Michelle Obama, it was about going on for more education or training.

Priscilla 6:45
So once we started to see that, like the discipline decreased, the attendance rates went up, grades went up, because kids had hope for their future. And they started to connect the dots. Like it wasn’t just one pathway, hey, this impacts, you want to go military enlistment, you want to go CTE, whatever it is, this impacts your future.

Lauren 7:03
That is such an inspiring story.

Priscilla 7:07
It gets better because my students started to create videos, social media campaigns, we got like everyone involved. It was like the senator or congressman, assembly members, the mayor our school board,

Lauren 7:21
you’re probably like, what did I just create here, like a tidal wave of next pathway culture?

Priscilla 7:26
Yeah, I mean, it was, it was something I will never forget. And once we started to do that, it was like, 2018, we get an invite to I am becoming, which is Michelle Obama’s book that she had written. And we went to her tour with my Reach HIgher club. And that was amazing.

Priscilla 7:43
And then 2019, I get a phone call that my senior class is gonna go see former first lady at UCLA for the National College Signing Day. So we took them and then it gets better too. My students were asked to be on stage with her and speak in front of 10,000 people. One of my students, he was an English learner. And he came into my office, and he was just like, Ms. Grijalv, but I don’t know if I can do this and speak in front of 10,000 people.

Priscilla 8:12
And so I helped him practice. And I told him my story about when I was a kid, I had gotten in an accident, and I had to go through speech therapy, and I had to have surgery, I had to go through some things that were very difficult in life. And so I kind of understood where he was coming from.

Priscilla 8:28
And so I was like, you know, I went to speech therapy, I practiced. And, you know, I was able to speak at my college graduation as the senior class president. And so then he kinda was like, Okay, I got this, and he gets up, and he speaks in front of 10,000 people. And then he, he thanks me on stage in front of Michelle Obama. And that just melted my heart.

Priscilla 8:51
To this day, I keep in touch with all of them. And then you go on to 2020, we hit the pandemic. And right before we had hit the pandemic, our students were on this mission, they were like, we’re gonna get high voter registration rates because our community, especially where we were at, they weren’t really registering to vote.

Priscilla 9:08
And so in the state of California, if you’re 16 or older, you can register to vote. So we had over 1000 registered vote in our community, just with our students and our staff advocacy. And Michelle Obama took notice of that. So we’re in a pandemic, and we’re having a Zoom meeting about voter registration, and in pops, Michelle Obama, nowhere. Oh, my goodness.

Priscilla 9:30
My students were like on CNN, MSNBC, they were on all these stations. I don’t even remember because they were like my little celebrities. And then they got like a prom, a virtual prom that year. I mean, that is a very long story. There’s so much to the story, but it just kind of continued and to this day, I even have a reach higher club that I’m starting at my current high school with some amazing students and one of my interns is helping me so it just continues to impact our students.

Lauren 9:57
That is amazing. What do you think was the like starting point for it? Do you think like you are a naturally competitive person, like you’re like, I want to win the thing, or you just saw, like all this potential in your school? Like if we got the right people on board, I think we could get some momentum here.

Priscilla 10:15
Yeah, you know, I’m very competitive. I’m also one that perseverance I don’t give up. So if I don’t win something, or if my students are disappointed, I want the world for them. So I will continue to advocate for them. So one of the things that really helped too was just seeing the hope in my students and their lives change with going on for more education or training.

Priscilla 10:37
So seeing them persevere, pushed me even more. And then it pushed our staff and like our community, just where I was at, I’ve worked at see this is my fourth High School, I’m at. The first high school, it was about I think 80% socioeconomically disadvantaged. And then the second one, where my students were recognized by former first lady as well, that one went up to 87%.

Priscilla 11:00
And so that one was a great community students lives were changed or going on from our education or training. And so I think it was just that in growing up, first generation, I understand I needed I needed that push, I needed a school counselor to help me with everything.

Lauren 11:16
Yeah and that’s wild that, you know, that’s a high percentage of, like you said, either free and reduced lunch or SES disadvantage students that you really were probably changing a whole culture of showing them what was possible, and saying, hey, here are the different pathways instead of just this is what has always been done, or this is what has been done in my family, or this is what my parents know, of what’s available.

Lauren 11:45
You being one person is so cool at encouraging that, like you could start that and create a tidal wave to make an impact, a generational impact on these students and their families. I’m sure you’ve already heard, you know, have amazing stories of where those students have been in just five years or something. And that probably continues to motivate you.

Priscilla 12:05
Yeah, it continues to motivate me. And I even think about like one of my students, he owns his own business, he actually went on to be the national champion in track. So one of his businesses that he owns is carpet cleaning. So he comes and he cleans my carpets.

Lauren 12:20
so you like still get to see him and be proud of him.

Priscilla 12:23
I am so proud of him. But I mean, that’s just one example of several that I mean, another student owns their own balloon company business, and I look at everything, that they just continue to persevere. And they, they achieve their dreams. And it just like wow, like, you know, our teachers or staff our counselors all impacted these students lives.

Lauren 12:42
I was gonna ask you, if there was one moment in particular, where you felt really proud of the work you were doing or the students you were working with, but it sounds like you probably have so many is there one that like really stands out as the students story that we need to hear to keep us motivated high school counselors?

Priscilla 13:02
I think there’s so many stories. I am proud of all my students and I, the main thing is our students success, I get a little teary eyed thinking about it. Probably just seeing my students persevere during the pandemic, when we were virtual, those students that went on for more education or training or working to support their families and just continue despite the odds.

Priscilla 13:21
And then, like having that surprise from Michelle Obama on on Zoom, like really pushed our school to persevere, because like somebody took notice of them during the pandemic, you know. So I think that that was something, all of those things I will never forget, I look back on my career.

Priscilla 13:37
And I’m just like, wow, like, my students and I and the staff I’ve worked with, we’ve just experienced incredible things. And I’m like, I’m so grateful that God has blessed me and my students with so many amazing things that I can’t even pinpoint one thing,

Lauren 13:50
Right? And when you’ve found yourself in the midst of that, because even just that timeline of like, just all those things happening, were you like, how is it me? Like, I think I would be like looking around, like, how did I get lucky enough to be the person who’s here and like, to one be leading such like passionate and motivated students?

Lauren 14:11
I mean, that’s everyone’s dream, right? And then but to also have just the, the influence, I guess, now that you get to represent on MSNBC, or talk to Michelle Obama, like those places are huge for school counselors to be sharing their passion, their advocacy. Were you ever like, is there a pinch me moment? Like, am I gonna wake up from a dream moment for you?

Priscilla 14:34
Yeah there were a few times and I have mentors in my life. I did call them and I’m like, this just happen? Somebody pinched me. But like, I think it’s, it’s not just me. I have incredible mentors in my life, and I call on them and they, I even had this former principal who was amazing. She like called us the best in the world.

Priscilla 14:53
And she pushed us to be better and she actually passed away but to this day, I still think of her and I think got, like how she just motivates people. And I try to use that in my life with my parents, students and staff, because I think they’re amazing. I think people need to know that. And I also think about, like my family who just pushed me. And obviously, I have a lot of faith. So I think God’s blessed me in all my areas, and I’m just incredibly grateful for all the people he’s given me.

Lauren 15:19
What advice would you give to a counselor who maybe doesn’t feel like they have that mentor figure to them right now to ask questions of or, you know, lean into when times are tough? What would you say to that counselor right now?

Priscilla 15:32
I would say, find the people in your life that you aspire to learn from, and that you trust, and you’ve seen their character. So just to give you an example, like I look to people in leadership that I know, have been very supportive and have humility, like

Lauren 15:51
the qualities that you want to emulate the things that you want, you find those people?

Priscilla 15:55
Yeah, yeah. Or even like, it could be people that are getting different areas in your life that you’re not good at. So I never did my FAFSA, because you know, my school counselor at the time, I never blame her. I just don’t think she knew about it. And so I went into high school counseling, and I didn’t even know how to do a FAFSA.

Priscilla 16:14
And so I reached out to this person who was just amazing and taught me the ins and outs of FAFSA and mentored me through that. And now I know how to do FAFSA, right? So you just find those people in your life that you really need help with.

Priscilla 16:25
Or maybe you just need to bounce ideas off of, or maybe you’re having a bad day, and you just need to vent like you need all that in your life. And I think no matter how old you are, you should have a mentor. And it doesn’t just have to be one. It can be several.

Lauren 16:38
Yeah. And probably maybe as an encouragement too like those people might change throughout your professional career throughout your lifetime. Like you might need different people or different types of personalities to mentor you at different seasons in your life, too. And that’s okay. Yeah, absolutely. But yeah, that’s good advice.

Lauren 16:59
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Lauren 17:21
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Lauren 17:37
You kind of talked about this a little bit, but what sort of initiatives did you put in place at your school to increase that college access or broaden the awareness for their post secondary options for your students? Like you mentioned the Reach Hire Club. And is that something that you have done in all the schools that you’ve worked at? Because it sounds like it went? Well, like what kinds of other things have you done?

Priscilla 17:58
So yeah, that and then just breaking apart some of the things that Reach Higher’s has already done, like the beating the odds summit having that really helps, too. So basically, with the beating the odds, you have guest speakers come back, it could be someone from the military, college former students, someone in the community that students really look up to could be a mayor or anyone, and just help them with questions.

Priscilla 18:20
So maybe a student has a question about college dorms or financial aid. And these these people are on a panel and they answer their questions and help them to get past the summer melt, or whatever the students may have questions about. Also Reach Higher Thursday, so every Thursday having students wear college or military apparel, I mean, it can be any day doesn’t even have to be called retired Thursday, just making sure all of that is inclusive.

Priscilla 18:43
Another thing that was implemented was our financial aid, like making sure that it’s a school wide systemic effect. It can’t just be on the school counselors, it has to be your student leadership, your secretaries, your teachers, ASB, I mean, administration, everyone needs to be involved. So building those partnerships with your staff, and those relationships is so important.

Priscilla 19:08
As far as all that I think also building relationships with your community. So I’m a big advocate with building relationships, not just with my community, but like, I go to Netcat and you meet all those college representatives from across the nation. And I get their information and I I invite them to our staff to help us or I can call them because I have their information.

Priscilla 19:29
So if a student’s applying to Oklahoma State University or, or any university I have a contact I can reach out to to help that student. So just making sure that you’re continuing to be able to build those relationships. I think that’s part of the whole initiatives. And then obviously, you know, making it a team thing, not just a counselor thing,

Lauren 19:48
Right. And because if you’re just trying to make it a counselor thing, you’re gonna get burnt out by it. There’s so many moving pieces, and you probably have so many ideas of things you want to implement. But if it’s all riding on your shoulders like no, there are Like you had said, there are things that like somebody else is going to be better at than you anyway. So let’s like tap into other people’s strengths and get them all on board with the same shared mission and vision.

Lauren 20:09
You actually answered what my next question for you is going to be it was going to be, how has networking with peers or colleagues or community stakeholders? How has any of those played into your college initiatives, but it sounds like you hit them from, from all of that from when in within your school walls, you are connecting with people in your local community, and then in a broader effect across the nation by going to conferences and really putting yourself out there to meet people.

Priscilla 20:34
Yeah. And I think I also go back to I’m a big basketball fan. So growing up, I played basketball. And I loved Michael Jordan. So I watched him. And then I also like love the relationship that Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant had. So I like try to figure out how can I be better? And I find those people who are amazing, and then I go, and I try to be just as good or maybe better, right?

Priscilla 20:57
I want to be the best school counselor for my students. And I think when you stay on top of your professional development, whether that’s with the American School Counselor Association conferences, and webinars, or NASDAQ, or whatever, or your local state conferences, like just making sure that you are just staying on top of your game, like that’s the most important thing. And that’s mainly what I learned with the Michael Jordan Kobe relationship is that when you continue to get better, and reach out for advice, and stay humble, like you’re going to be doing great things for your students.

Lauren 21:29
Yes, that’s such a good example of, you know, taking something from sports world, even though you could use that example with students like that relates to students to have saying, like, Hey, here’s how I’m trying to be better in my professional life.

Lauren 21:41
Here’s an example of how you can work harder, reach higher, as a student and still accomplish amazing things. And see some good examples like out in the VDM sports world. What is something that is frustrating to you right now about the college landscape or post secondary options, like something you wish you could wave a magic wand and fix if you could?

Priscilla 22:03
Probably the most recent happenings with affirmative action. So currently, I am on a focus group for NASDAQ post students for fair admissions, working with that to create support and just different things for our school counselors to help our students. I live in the state of California, and I know some other states that FAFSA. And I know we have the California Dream Act in California to is now a completion requirement so that our students are knowledgeable and have that information about financial aid.

Priscilla 22:31
So I wish that was nationwide. So that’s my big dream so that kids can get their free money and everything that they need beyond that. But other than that, I mean, those two things mainly stand out in my life right now. But I think those are the there’s a lot of things, but those are the two things. Yeah.

Lauren 22:47
I mean, how encouraging is it that like, Okay, that’s a frustrating thing for you, but you’re on a board to have your voice heard and to make some changes about it, not just, you know, complain about it in your office and never do anything about it.

Lauren 22:59
Well, I think that also speaks to your passion for advocacy. Where would you say that that comes from? Is that like a personal desire? Why you got into school counseling, because we thought you wanted to be an advocate for students from the very beginning, or just your passion for school counseling, advocacy, and, you know, letting others know what school counselors do and stuff? Where does that come from? For you?

Priscilla 23:21
It stems from a young age. So when I was telling you about when I had to go through speech therapy and all that, I really wanted to be better, because I think people telling me that I wouldn’t be able to publicly speak well, because I wasn’t improving. And then also, sometimes again, made made fun of because of certain words, I’d say I wanted to get better.

Priscilla 23:40
So I practiced, and I went to speech therapy. And then like I told you, I went on to become senior class president spoke in front of 1000s, right? And here I am now on your podcast. Part of that whole thing was thinking about the people in my life. And then I had this acronym of TACOS. So I loved eating tacos every Tuesday. And so my parents said, Hey, if you go to speech therapy, we’ll take you to get tacos.

Priscilla 24:04
Well, in El Paso, Texas Dairy Queen had the best tacos at the time. Right now I don’t think they still do. But in my opinion, they were amazing tacos like I’m talking the real tacos, not the ice cream tacos. And so with the acronym with tacos T stood for thankful. So always be thankful where you’re at in life, even if it’s not where you want to be. Just knowing that you’ve come so far and you put in the work to be thankful.

Priscilla 24:29
The A in the tacos stands for advocacy. So I always advocate for myself. And now I use it to advocate for my students and the school counseling profession. C stands for celebrate. So oh, we celebrate your small wins and your big wins, but not just for you, but for your students and your staff and the people in your life. Like celebrate them, appreciate them, let them know because you know, life life goes by and you need to just acknowledge that.

Priscilla 24:53
And then the O is just being open hearted. Like making sure that you’re genuine and just love Hang on people being sincere, right? And the S is sincere. So tacos, being sincere with just you know your your life and how you advocate for people. And that’s, that’s the most important for me in my life is using that acronym. And that all ties in to advocacy. So that’s where it stems into. And I always go back to that acronym. So I’m always thinking and being grateful for the little things in the big things in my life.

Lauren 25:23
I love that, like such a good way for you to just kind of ground yourself and say, like, Am I moving forward in my advocacy mission, whether that’s in my professional life or my personal life? And how am I staying true to myself and aligning to that?

Lauren 25:38
Well, being an advocate, like I would naturally call you a leader, what would you say to a school counselor who just doesn’t see themselves as a leader in their schools? Because I think all school counselors are leaders in their schools, but they just might not have the confidence or know how to be a leader or like why someone would call them that. I disagree. But how would you encourage a counselor who doesn’t feel like a leader among their co workers or their teammates in their school?

Priscilla 26:05
So I agree with you, like, we’re all leaders as school counselors, and that’s part of our profession. So sometimes we may not have the confidence to lead, I would say, you know, join committees, whether it’s at your school or your district, your local state organization, or even national with asker, they have a ton of things you can volunteer for. And just get in there and help. Like, that’s the main thing.

Priscilla 26:29
You don’t have to serve on a ton of committees, even just one, whatever you can do. But know that as a leader, when you continue to give back, you’re continuing to grow your leadership skills. The second thing with all of that is, if you’re not sure, like I said, get a mentor and just bounce ideas off of doing that.

Priscilla 26:45
And I remember the first few committees I served on, I was doing it to just help, right and I continued to do that. And then people started to be like, Hey, you should run for this, you should run for that. I remember, someone’s like, you should run for cask and then I did that. And I was on their board for a little bit. And then here I am serving in the pandemic, and then someone was like you should serve on ASCA.

Priscilla 27:07
And I, I didn’t think about ever serving on Ask as a national board member of an association. But I don’t know. I mean, it just kind of like how things worked out. And I’m incredibly grateful for all that, like you just, you never know what’s going to come your way. And I’m not telling you, you have to serve on state and national borders. I’m just saying like, if you struggle with that, use the taco acronym like, always go back to that, just be thankful where you’re at. And advocating is so important to advocating is part of leadership and growing in your skills. That’s so important.

Lauren 27:41
Even if you start small, like you said, like one committee here or there have something that you’re passionate about, I feel like it can lead into, like you said, a leadership position in that same kind of committee or role. And then somebody notices, hey, I think you’d be great over here.

Lauren 27:56
And it just continues to snowball into a place where you have a lot of influence whether you know, that’s your natural state of being or not, counselors are influential among students and their peers in the school we have we have voices that need to be heard. So I hate when people like don’t think that they can be a leader like you are just by nature of like the role that you’ve stepped into. You’re a leader.

Priscilla 28:22
Yeah. And I think it also can be a fear, right? So there’s this quote that I love by Michael Jordan, he says limits like fears are often just an illusion. So just to give you an example, like I told you about FAFSA, like I didn’t know how to do it. So I had to get past that fear and learn it. And once you get past that fear, and you learn it, it gets better and better and better. And then before you know it, you’re confident and you’re not only helping your students, but you’re helping the profession and changing things.

Priscilla 28:48
So I was I told you about the state completion requirement in our state, I started to serve on committees because I wanted to advocate for that. And amazing people advocated for that at the state level and it happened. So you just use if it’s a weakness, learn from it and, and move forward and get past that fear.

Lauren 29:05
That’s so encouraging. You have shared so like your story is inspiring and encouraging, like just in itself, and then just all that you’ve accomplished through your advocacy. That has been a really cool story for me to hear. Is there anything we didn’t talk about that? You were like, Let’s talk about this in terms of ag advocacy, or retire or college initiatives.

Priscilla 29:25
No, I think you’ve we’ve pretty much touched on all of it. And I just thank you so much for letting me be on your podcast. I love the work that you do. And I hope that more people follow you on your social media, I see everything that you post and you’re so inspirational and positive. So keep up the great work and again, thank you for having me on your podcast.

Lauren 29:42
You’re so sweet Priscilla tell everyone where they can find you if they want to connect with you or listen to your podcast just share with the listeners and I’ll keep it in the show notes too.

Priscilla 29:50
Yeah, so right now you can follow me on Reach Higher Riverside so like the retire initiative at retire Riverside, on Instagram, Twitter. We also have a Facebook page I haven’t done my podcast in a while because I’ve been so busy, but I hope to get back into it.

Lauren 30:03
But you have lots of old episodes too, that they can go back and listen, pick out ones or binge all of them if they want to.

Priscilla 30:10
Yeah, absolutely, you can totally go back in like it just gives tips on college and career financial aid. And then if you want to follow me on my personal Twitter, I have a Twitter and Instagram. You can also find me on LinkedIn under Priscilla Grijalva.

Lauren 30:25
Awesome. Well, I’m sure people will reach out and connect with you because you shared a lot of great ideas. And at least they’ll be following along for more of your initiatives and post secondary ideas. So thanks for being on the show.

Priscilla 30:37
Well, thank you have a good day, everyone.

Lauren 30:39
Thanks again to Priscilla for sharing her college and post secondary expertise. I knew that she would offer a perspective that is so so valuable to other high school counselors. She did not disappoint. If you enjoyed this episode, share it with a counseling colleague and share the high school counseling conversations love. I’ll see you back here next week.

Lauren 31:00
Thanks for listening to today’s episode of high school counseling conversations. All the links I talked about today can be found in the show notes and also at Be sure to hit follow wherever you listen to your podcast so that you never miss a new episode. Connect with me over on Instagram. Feel free to send me a DM @counselorclique. That’s C-L-I-Q-U-E. I’ll see you next week.

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