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Upper School

Upper School Counseling Department

Upper School Counseling supports Middle School and High School students in their personal and social development within the context of their academic career at George Washington Academy, “…a caring community where students’ needs are a priority and where traditional Moroccan and American values are respected and encouraged to coexist.” (excerpt from GWA mission statement)

“Today’s young people are living in an exciting time, with an increasingly diverse and mobile society, new technologies and expanding opportunities. To help ensure they are prepared to become the next generation of parents, workers, leaders and citizens, students need support, guidance and opportunities during adolescence, a time of rapid growth and change. Adolescents face unique and diverse challenges, both personally and developmentally, that have an impact on academic achievement.” - American School Counselors Association (ASCA)

Meet the Counselor

Robert Varnay, MA, LPC, joined George Washington Academy as the Upper School Counselor in the autumn of 2016. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the State of New Jersey and a National Certified Counselor (NCC). Mr. Varnay enjoys being involved in the mental health field in diverse settings, and with populations ranging from children, youth, adults, couples, and families. Prior to accepting the position of Upper School Counselor at GWA, he worked in a crisis counselor capacity in the emergency department at a general hospital in New Jersey, as well as a counselor at an outpatient clinic in his hometown of Newark, NJ.

Contact Information

Please stop by to see Mr. Varnay or email him to schedule an appointment.

E-Mail: rvarnay@gwa.ac.ma

The Upper School Counselor Office is located in the Upper School Administrative Offices and is open Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 16:00 when school is in session.

Counseling Services:

Individual Appointments: Every student in grade-level 6 to 12 has the opportunity to meet with the Upper School Counselor to talk about social and emotional concerns in a safe and confidential environment.

Group Sessions: Small groups provide students opportunities to learn practical skills that can help them with communication, problem-solving, decision-making, conflict resolution, and their studies. Students gain understanding of themselves, including their strengths and weaknesses, to help them with their peer relationships.

Crisis Response: The school counselor provides psychological first aid to those affected by a personal and/or family tragedy.

Consultation: Parents are encouraged to meet with the counselor to discuss behavioral and social/emotional concerns, as well as parenting and the effect of family dynamics. The counselor collaborates with teachers and staff to enhance student success.

Mental Health Awareness: Classroom presentations and training on mental health related topics to students and the broader GWA community focus on both prevention and response.

Referrals: The counselor provides referrals to mental health professionals such as psychologists and psychiatrists for further evaluation and ongoing treatment, if a student’s condition warrants this kind of intervention.