Paige Whiteside, (SFWS 2003), High School Mentor
Paige Whiteside, Class of 2003, joined our high school faculty this year as the HS Mentor. She received a Masters in Counseling Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies and has been a school counselor at several Bay Area school. We met with her to learn more about why she is rejoining our community.

SFWS: Can you talk about your experience since graduating from high school?

Paige Whiteside: Upon completing SFWHS in the third graduating class, I was fortunate to attend Willamette University in beautiful Oregon. I immersed myself in my interests - psychology and creative arts - and fell in love with school on many levels. After four years, a thesis, and a lot of pizza deliveries I was more than ready to return to the beloved Bay Area and get my hands dirty. I experimented with several jobs and lived in Austin, Texas for a while but always found myself drawn once again to psychology and counseling. I attended California Institute of Integral Studies where I received a Masters in Counseling Psychology and became enamored with School Counseling in particular. For five years I worked as a School Counselor and Mental Health Therapist at several East Bay schools.

SFWS: Please describe your new role as the High School Mentor.

PW: I have wanted the chance to work with Waldorf students and faculty since the time I was a high school student myself and co-founded the peer counseling group with Karen Apana's help and guidance. As the High School Mentor I will be supporting students and parents on both an individual and community basis. I am available as a resource to students when they are struggling, particularly with social/emotional issues and will work with grades 9, 10, and 11 at different points throughout the year during their Health elective. I am returning to Peer Counseling as a facilitator pairing freshmen with seniors and working with the peer counselors throughout the year on building their skills to help the student body as a whole. I plan to reach out to parents by offering consultation and guest speakers on topics relevant to teens and parents in our current cultural setting.

SFWS: How did your experience at SFWS enrich your post-high school experiences and career choices?

PW: I am so grateful to have attended a school that celebrates student's individual gifts while also fostering a sense of community. I have always been interested in people, behavior, and relationships and was able to explore this interest at Waldorf with the support of faculty who steered me toward things I was obviously interested in. I entered college empowered with the mindset that doing what I love is valuable and can lead to success in life.

SFWS: Would you please share some good memories from your time here?

PW: Too many! Camping! Traveling! Having dynamic conversations with teachers, Ms. Apana's laugh, playing soccer, acting. I felt like an active participant in my learning and growing. I have to mention that to this day my best friends are eight girls I went to high school with, so these memories are in a perpetual state of being made.