Editor's note: The following is a press release from .
Tim Hilton knows today’s teenagers face unprecedented pressures and more distractions than ever before.
That’s why the sixth-year guidance counselor has developed a philosophy of helping students learn how to critically think for themselves.
“I don’t dispense advice. I don’t feel it’s effective to tell them you need to do this or you need to do that,” Hilton said. “I try to ask them questions that will allow them to come to best course of action for themselves.”
As an example, if a student comes to Hilton complaining about not liking a class, instead of telling the students he has to go to class, Hilton pulls out some material and asks students what colleges they want to attend.
“I use data to show students that they need that course to go to college of their choice,” Hilton said. “By providing information they become less focused on trying to avoid what is difficult and more amenable to exploring ways to work through the challenges.”
“I believe every student is capable of learning and reaching his or her full potential,” he added, pointing out that the “New View” philosophy of increased academic rigor is working well.
“If students are put in more rigorous classes, more often than not they will rise to the challenge. Whether they decide to go to college or enter the workforce, they’re better prepared for it.”
Hilton credits his success as a guidance counselor to the training he received as a journalism graduate of Northern Illinois University. Working for Suburban LIFE Newspapers, the Chicago Tribune, Major League Soccer, Major League Baseball and ABC 7 TV early in his career helped hone his abilities to ask questions and obtain answers, a critical skill for guidance counseling.
“I always enjoyed talking with teenagers and finding the story behind the story,” he said. “Over time I wanted something more out of my career. I wanted to be a consistent support and resource to young people.”
So Hilton headed to Lewis University to get his Master’s Degree in school guidance counseling and within months of graduation, he was hired to work at BHS.
“I really enjoy being a guidance counselor in this district because we’re working with all levels from freshmen to seniors,” said Hilton, who handles students whose names fall between Mc and Pec in the alphabet.
“I particularly enjoy the whole college application process…the excitement of students coming here as freshmen wondering what am I going to do and leaving as seniors pursuing their dreams.”
Hilton says he and his fellow guidance counselors are usually the first line of support for students.
“A lot of questions come through our office so having a broad knowledge base and connections to resources is vital” he said, adding he particularly enjoys the variety involved in his work.
“We touch on everything: social, emotional, academic. We may be working with a freshman who’s struggling in class to a sophomore with disciplinary issues to a senior who needs a stand-out recommendation letter for admission to a prestigious university.”
Every day is different for Hilton but one thing remains constant.
“I focus on supporting and guiding my students in the pursuit of fulfilling lives.”