Life of a Brave: 21 Questions With New Counselor, Mrs. Melissa Pantoja

by Noah Dawson

St. John Bosco High School welcomes new counselor, Mrs. Melissa Pantoja, to the counseling staff, as she works to serve all students with their academic needs.

Photo by Robert Visty III, Photo Editor

Q. What is your hometown?

A. I am from La Mirada, California

Q. What school did you attend for high school?

A. La Mirada High School

Q. What school(s) did you attend for college? 

A. Cerritos College, Cal State Dominguez Hills and Oregon State University.

Q. What was your major/minor in college?

A. I was a Psychology major for my undergraduate and a School Counseling major for my graduate degree.

Q. Do you own any pets?

A. YES! Two silver labs. They are my babies :).

Q. What do you like to do as a hobby?

A. Two of my hobbies are exercising and meditating.

Q. What’s your favorite outdoor hobbies?

A. I like being outdoors as much as possible, so I really enjoy hiking, walking and camping.

Q. Do you like any sports or have you played any?

A. I swam for my high school varsity swim team for three years and played softball for eight years. 

Q. What’s your favorite sport to watch. 

A. I will watch any sport! 

Q. Can you explain what you do as a counselor at Bosco?

A. I help with academics, career and college readiness as well as social emotional learning.

Q. What specifically drew you to Bosco?

A. I was drawn to work at Bosco because of the school’s reputation. This is a prestigious high school filled with young scholars who are motivated and families that are supportive. That is a counselor’s dream!

Q. Where did you first become inspired to get into counseling?

A. I was first inspired to get into the field of human services when I was in high school.                                                

Q. What was your first introduction to counseling and psychology? 

A. I took my first Psychology class as a junior in high school and fell in love with the field. From there, I knew I wanted to work in psychology and with children, so I pursued counseling. I never thought an elective course would be my key to figuring out what I wanted to do as a career.

Q. How has your time at Bosco been so far?

A. Great! Everyone is so kind and helpful, especially the students. I feel so welcomed.

Q. How are you acclimating to the all-boy environment?

A. I grew up with two younger brothers and was the only girl of three, so I am used to an “all-boy environment.”          

Q. What’s your favorite thing about Bosco? 

A. I appreciate how well mannered and respectful all the boys on campus are.

Q. Which event are you most excited about here at Bosco?

A. To experience a football game! I heard those are super fun. I am excited to bring my family along and share the experience with them too.

Q. What are some difficulties that you went through to get to where you are today?

A. My journey to college was somewhat rocky. I did not have a lot of guidance when it came to the college application process. I made a lot of mistakes that affected my college entrance. However, I am now able to utilize the lessons I learned throughout my journey along with my professional training to best help students reach their post-secondary goals.

Q. Do you have any advice for any students that wish to become counselors?

A. DO IT! If you like helping people you’ll love this job. It’s fun and rewarding.

Q. What’s your favorite type of music to listen to?

A. Pop.

Q. What is your favorite food?

A. Mac n’ cheese. I could literally eat it every day.

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