Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Mira Mesa High head counselor honored by San Diego State University

Mary McDonald, head counselor at Mira Mesa High, honored "for her tireless effort and commitment assisting students in fulfilling their dreams of going to college," has received the 2012-13 San Diego State University Frank Jonasson Endowment.

Mary McDonald The Jonasson award is given annually to a San Diego or Imperial County high school counselor for superior service in preparing students for higher education. The recipient is awarded funding to attend the annual Western Association of College Admission Counselors conference as well as a $1,000 stipend. The endowment is overseen by San Diego State University's Enrollment Services Department and the university's Campanile Foundation.

"Mary gives all of her students the star treatment so they can fulfill their college dreams and reach their full potential," said Scott Giusti, Mira Mesa High Principal. "She is well-respected, and the entire faculty at Mira Mesa High School join Mary in the quest to have a 'college-going-culture' on the campus. Mary is truly deserving of this honor."

The recipient is selected by the Jonasson Endowment Committee, which is comprised of high school counselors from San Diego and Imperial counties, including representatives from San Diego Unified, Grossmont Union and Sweetwater Union High school districts. McDonald received the award from Matthew Herbert, of San Diego State University's Enrollment Services. She was congratulated by San Diego Unified's Chief of Student Services, Dr. Joe Fulcher; Melissa Janak, Director, Counseling and Guidance/Placement and Appeal; and Ty Eveleth, San Diego Unified Head Counselor.

"Mary has helped many students navigate the college admission process because she knows how life changing attending college can be," said Giusti. "She stresses to students and their parents to apply broadly. If a family has reservations about paying for college, Mary encourages the student to apply to college, apply for financial aid including scholarships, then wait to see where the student is accepted and what type of financial aid package is offered."

The endowment was established by Frank Jonasson, San Diego State's former Director of Student Outreach Services, to support local high school counselors who go above and beyond to help their students get to college.

Giusti added that McDonald is adept at sizing up students and seeing their potential in college.

“She has a knack for scrutinizing a student’s entire educational career and seeing trends in behavior and academics," he said. This helps focus a student's college search and can result in more success in college acceptance and winning scholarships.