Imagine beginning your thirty-six-year high school counseling career by returning to your former high school, your alma mater, still being rememberedfor better or for worseby many of your past teachers and some staff members.
That is where Jim Mancke found himself in the fall of 1975. With his undergraduate degree in psychology, a three-year stint in the Military Police Corps, and a masters degree in secondary school counseling, he felt relatively well prepared for the task ahead.
Little did he know how little he did know! While his heart was open to serving the adolescent community, he quickly discovered he had much yet to learn. Interestingly, it would be his students and their parents who would prove to be his teachers and he their pupil. The lessons he learned are what this book is about.
His first nineteen years of service (he preferred to call this his ministry) were at Spartanburg High School in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He then answered a call to serve in a private (independent) school setting in Chattanooga, Tennessee, at the McCallie School, which offered both day and boarding options. The boarding component of McCallie added a new dimension to his counseling model. He served there for seventeen years. Both schools proved to be fertile ground for the lessons he learned.
While Jim was honored to be the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions throughout his counseling ministry, two proved to be extra special. In 1991 he received the distinguished Lewis Hine Award from the National Child Labor Committee in New York, presented for unparalleled achievement in service to children and youth. In 1993 Governor Carroll Campbell of South Carolina presented Jim the states highest civilian honor, the Order of the Palmetto, for his interest in and friendship to the state of South Carolina and her people.
As his memoirs attest, Jims greatest honor was that of serving his students and their parents.
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About the Author
There is an adage that was often quoted by the award winning poet, Maya Angelou. It reads: The bird does not sing because he has an answer; he sings because he has a song. At that point in my life I was confident I had the song that would be critical to my counseling success. BUT, I had also assumed I had most of the answers to the issues I would encounter. It took no more than a few encounters to prove me wrong.
In fact, I would learn it was my students and their parents who had so much to teach me; they were the ones who would lead me to the answers of some of lifes most interesting questions!