(Mary Richardson Sun staff)
Carla Brantley is the school counselor to all 331 students for grades Pre K through 12 at Graford. Brantley has a master's degree from Texas Tech and studied at University of Texas, Permian Basin in Odessa. "The school is working to implement a new program for sixth grade students known as Career Cruising," said Brantley. "It is geared toward helping students decide which career path they would like to take. It is becoming a crucial factor for younger students to start planning for their futures as early on as possible. That way they have a set goal for achievement, and know what it will take to reach their goal. If we can help them to decide in the earlier stages of their development, rather than waiting until they reach high school, then they have a greater chance at successfully achieving that goal." "Being a school counselor is very rewarding because it is like taking a blank canvas and watching each student paint their own story," she added. "Every one of them is unique, and although the stages of development may vary somewhat from student to student, I can see them learning and growing. "If I can give them guidance to help to them achieve their goal, it is such a feeling of pride for me to know that I may have been a contributing factor in making a difference in that child's life. But, it is definitely a collective effort from counselors, teachers and principals, because it takes teamwork. "Like the old saying, it takes a village to raise a child," said Brantley, "I love my job and I love the students here at Graford ISD."