GREENCASTLE, Pa. — Navigating the college admissions process can be extremely stressful, but school officials are adding a new college counselor this year to make the road to higher education a bit easier.
At Thursday's Greencastle-Antrim School Board meeting, high school Principal Edward Rife said Gilbert Bonafe Jr. will join the high school's two-person counseling team for the next two years.
"It costs the district absolutely nothing," Rife said. "All I have to do is provide him with office space."
Bonafe is a member of the National College Advising Corps-Keystone Region at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa. The organization is funded through the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, TG Public Benefit Grant Program and partner colleges.
The mission of the organization is to increase post-secondary matriculation rates among underserved high-school students from low- to moderate-income families in rural south-central Pennsylvania, according to the organization's website.
The organization's service area includes 17 rural high schools in Adams, Bedford, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon and Lancaster counties. Counselors currently are working at Chambersburg Area Senior High School and James Buchanan High School in Franklin County.
One of the reasons Greencastle-Antrim High School received funding for the college counselor is the school's ratio of counselors to students, Rife said.
"I have great counselors, but when you have two counselors for 970 kids, and you're dealing with crisis situations and the things you need to be dealing with, it gets very difficult to spend time to help with the college essays and some of those things that they would love to be doing," Rife said.
"So this will be this person's focus coming on board to help students and families with (college preparation). What an asset."
Bonafe will live in Greencastle and work in the district for the next two years, focusing on working with students to help fill out college applications, prepare for SAT testing, take college field trips, discuss financial aid, assist with college essay writing and guide students in future planning.
Rife said Bonafe initially will focus on the senior class and then work with the junior class.
If the program works well at Greencastle, Rife said the program could extend beyond two years.