By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Millington Star Commentary
There seems to be a day, a week or a month for everything things under the sun.
I’m writing this column on National Pizza Day (Feb. 9). Also the ninth celebrated National Bagel Day and National Toothache Day . I know what you’re thinking… why would we want to save a day for a painful inconvenience.
So with tooth pain getting 24 hours, I wasn’t too surprised to find out last week was National School Counseling Week. This year’s recognition was from Feb. 6-10.
Walking the halls of Millington Central High School last week to cover the recent signing of Trojan Football standout Nick Fenney to Bethel, I noticed a large poster designed by Mrs. Marshall.
Three lovely and familiar faces were in the center of this colorful dedication of gratitude. MCHS counselors Ashleigh Currie, Ann Allen and ‘The Enforcer’ Georgette Farmer were in a friendly embrace tailor made for Facebook or Instagram. The picture illustrated these women are genuinely friends and have developed a bond through their love of the students over three years.
Now did you catch that ‘Enforcer’ nickname for Farmer. There is a story behind that nickname. It was Farmer who I met first and introduced me to the other women.
Now I have a great working relationship and friendship with all three. But it was a scary start.
One day while attending a Millington Lady Trojan Volleyball game, I encountered a new face working the ticket desk.
Her bright smile caused her eyes to disappear and I felt a burst of positive energy. That ray of sunshine quickly receded as I introduced myself as Thomas Sellers.
“Oh, Thomas Sellers,” Farmer said. “The Thomas Sellers who has not been returning my calls. You got me chasing you like you owe me money. I have some important news I need to get out to my parents and for my kids. Ms. Hale told me you were the man to connect… I can’t tell.”
At this point I was looking back at the golden doors of the William Osteen Gymnasium as a golden ticket to freedom.
“What do you have to say?”
With my heart beating 1,000 mph, all I could do was reply to Farmer with a question.
“Are you sure you had the right number?”
What the difference one digit makes. The last number quoted to Farmer was incorrect. I was saved and had a chance to prove to Farmer I was reliable.
She apologized and started to pull out forms and information sheets for me to publish. I learned two things quickly about Farmer that day, she is on top of her business and she really cares about her children. To the point she will beat up a random reporter who is neglecting her children’s needs or success.
The radiant smile returned and Farmer said we’re going to get along just fine. She was 100 percent correct. Over the past 3 years she has introduced me to Allen and Currie. From the ACT achievements to Math Tutoring parties, all three women will call, text or e-mail me.
When I stop by their offices, they are consistently working with the children from filling out applications to preparing for essays to impress these colleges.
Currie is taking care of the babies of MCHS making sure they are on pace, thinking of their future before senior year comes.
Currie is the baby of the trio serving in her third year in the educational field. Don’t let her youthful exterior fool you, she is sharp and focused.
Allen is the veteran of this group stepping into education in 1989. When she arrived into the counseling field, she uses a no-nonsense style to keep her children informed and on target.
Allen will use humor to keep a student’s nerves on ease before a big test or major academic event. I am all too familiar with her jokes and wit.
Before I leave her office I end up laughing at myself. All I can do is smell as soon as I hear Allen’s voice. “How you doing Mr. Sellers?”
My big smile is picked up by Currie and she starts to pick on me. “Why are you so happy?”
By this time Farmer is directing traffic by feeding her teammates information on me to give them new material.
I must admit it, I enjoy my 10 to 15 minutes of being roasted. The reason why this takes place is because I see Currie, Allen and Farmer as friends.
I share my personal highs and even some of my lows with them. And in return the ladies have chatted with me on a serious level. We’ve prayed together, laughed together and almost cried together.
I’m easy to release some tears but the women can be hardcore. And my respect for all three is super high because they are professional.
They have a special bond with the students and they make sure the children come first. I enjoy watching interact with a kid desperate to narrow down his or her college choice to venting about relationship problems.
So I’m glad my girls had a week to be recognized and told thank you. This is my public thank you to Ashleigh Currie, Ann Allen and The Enforcer.
As usual, I’ll let you ladies have the last words…
“The best thing about being a counselor for me is working with the students and knowing that I’m actually helping them in some kind of way. Sometimes I don’t think I am, but I do most of the time.” — Ashleigh Currie
“Being able to impact young lives, beyond just the high school years. Knowing that we’re not only making a difference right now but we’re going to make a difference later on in their lives. Because they’ll make a difference in the world.” — Ann Allen
“It’s just seeing the kids grow. It’s aspiring to see them as ninth graders to by the time they are 12th graders, they have matured. They have goals and aspirations. To say that I have touched that young man or that young lady’s life is the reason why I come to work.” — Georgette Farmer