Weldon guides middle schoolers toward success

Published 9:35 am Wednesday, February 8, 2023

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This week is National School Counseling Week. In recognition, the LDN is writing stories on local school counselors.

Callaway Middle School’s Freda Weldon said being a school counselor wasn’t always the plan.

“I never thought about going into education because I come from a large family and grew up around a lot of brothers and sisters. But my sister, Dr. Carrie Smith Williams, always told me as a little girl, that I will be a teacher one day,” Weldon said.

Before becoming a school counselor, Weldon worked as a history teacher for a middle school in Alabama.

Due to divine intervention, Weldon found herself going from working at Duracell to taking fate head-on and becoming a teacher.

“When I worked at Duracell, I got injured and had to go back to school. Once I went back, I prayed about it and felt God sent me a sign a had to be a teacher,” Weldon said. “Even though sometimes we go in the wrong direction, it was my calling to be in education and to be a counselor.”

Weldon said as a middle school counselor she loves being able to help the child as a whole and seeing them grow up.

“Many people do not realize the middle school years are the most crucial. Our kids are trying to find themselves, trying to get along with their peers, trying to get along with their parents, and their emotions are raging,” Weldon said. “Middle school, to me, determines who that child will be because they’re learning who they are each year from sixth grade to eighth grade. I see that child grow in middle school to who they will eventually become as an adult.” 

In her 24 years of working with middle school-aged children, Weldon said she’s learned that counselors must possess certain qualities to connect with their students.

“I feel like a school counselor must have empathy, be friendly, be fair and know when to act and what to do,” Weldon said. “Kids can read you. If you’re not being genuine, being fair to these kids, you can’t reach them. To be a successful school counselor, you have to be able to reach down and find a way to connect with them.” 

When she is not making a difference in the lives of her students, Weldon said she is an avid traveler.

“I like to travel the world,” Weldon said. “I’m a traveler, and I love going on vacation —sometimes two or three times a year.”

Weldon said if she wasn’t a school counselor, she would probably be in a profession that involves helping someone in need.