Life of a Brave: Unsung Hero Counselor Ms. Alyssa Skipper
by Dominic Sanchez
Ms. Alyssa Skipper, a prominent member of the faculty and staff here at St. John Bosco High School as our Director of Counseling, may not be as well-known to some parents and alumni, but she is a mainstay in the lives of our student body. She plays a dominant role in the community in helping hundreds of students reach their academic potential and goals for the future to come.
Ms. Skipper’s journey to St. John Bosco has been drawn out and alluring. She was born one of two daughters in Torrance, California and then raised in Lakewood for the majority of her life. Growing up with a very supportive and loving family who supported her through anything, they would go to any limit to help her succeed with her goals throughout her early life.
After middle school, Ms. Skipper decided to attend Mayfair High School participating in cheerleading and several other clubs. Graduating from high school she chose to go to UC Santa Barbara as an undergraduate and got her Masters at Cal State Dominguez Hills College. She then chose to start majoring in sociology, as well as minoring in applied psychology to broaden her opportunities for the counseling career she’s been pursuing.
By the time she was about to leave high school, she knew that being a school counselor was a career path she wanted to be in. Besides working at a few fun jobs on the side during high school in the Summer, like Soak City Water Park, which she definitely did not enjoy.
“It was a terrible first job; I will definitely say that,” said Ms. Skipper.
She also worked many other jobs, but there was no other job she wanted to ever pursue like being a counselor and helping others reach their academic potential.
Ms. Skipper then began focusing on her career in college in her undergraduate, and went directly into grad school as soon as she graduated from the University of Santa Barbara. Fast forward to two years later, she already started getting into her fieldwork in the counseling career.
Growing up in public school for her whole life, she was looking at a variety of schools to lend her services. Her public school education was a foundation for her experience in applying to these schools. Being in different types of settings and meeting with a variety of students has helped her tremendously, as well as helping her grow as the best counselor she can be.
In 2018, Bosco was looking for a fresh face to help with the counseling department, and Ms. Skipper seized that opportunity, making it the first Catholic school she’s ever worked at. She was hired as the Director of Counseling for students, helping with the college application process, test preparation, class modifications, guiding each and every student to their own path and the social and emotional well being of all.
“I thought it would be really interesting to see what the private world looks like, to see what the Salesian community looks like, and it has been really cool to see how different the education can be here,” said Ms. Skipper.
Being at St. John Bosco for about a year and a half, Ms. Skipper has developed a strong sense of connection and friendship with the majority of Bosco’s staff and faculty. She believes that this is a unique place with great accomplishments and continued potential. Described by her, it is easily one of the best groups of people she’s ever had the privilege to work with. As a welcoming and open personality among the staff, she believes that people are really sold on the idea of being there for their students being present in class, as well as being out and about on campus.
With much of her first year at Bosco spent working with the Counseling Department and the Parent Association, the immense sense of welcoming for her personally, as well as the support of Mr. Delgado and Mr. Totah, solidified her feeling that she was in the right place. After 6 years of being dedicated to counseling, she has also toyed with the idea of being in Administration someday for St. John Bosco, but for now, she is truly happy with her position and will never change her career as an educator in some capacity until she reaches her retirement from the field.
From my personal experience with Ms. Skipper, having her help me with my personal struggles and stress over my college applications, I feel the best word to describe her is compassionate. No matter how busy she is, or how much is on her plate during the day, she will always find a way to take the time to handle the situation a student is having even when it seems like she can’t help.
From assisting in supervising student events, welcoming students, providing college lectures, providing advice for students when they need it most and more, she is a welcoming personality and truly a joy to have around you. Currently, she is juggling the Counseling Department, graduation ceremonies and is working on aiding hundreds of students in their college applications, just to name a few of her many responsibilities.
Her job is quite a handful and is not easy. It is satisfying and rewarding work that takes a lot of effort to pursue. Miss Skipper cannot imagine being at any other high school in the country. The school community and staff cannot imagine Bosco without her and is incredibly thankful for her and her efforts of making Bosco a better place to be.