This Week, the Warrior Word sat down with Mrs. Enis, the school’s college guidance counselor. Get to know her as she talks about her hobbies, childhood dream career, and offers advice to freshmen.
Tziyona Gheblikian: Where were you born and raised?
Mrs. Enis: I was born in New York, and I was raised in New York and New Jersey.
TG: At what point did you move here?
ME: I moved here twenty years ago from New Jersey.
TG: Why did you decide to move to Florida?
ME: My parents were getting older, and were sick, so they needed to be in warmer weather instead of living in New Jersey. So we moved them here, and then we moved to take care of them.
TG: What was your dream career as a child?
ME: I was going to be a doctor. I was a biology major. But in my generation, it was harder for girls coming from an Orthodox family; my father was a Rabbi. Coming from an Orthodox family, the given profession that girls were encouraged to go into was not medicine, it was teaching. So I was a biology teacher in my former life.
TG: What made you decide to become a college guidance counselor?
ME: I liked working with the students one-on-one, and they came to rely on me and ask me questions. I got interested in becoming an advocate for the students within the school, and the only way you could do that, one-on-one, with the students was to become a counselor. And in the state of New Jersey, I went for a counseling degree, which was not college guidance. There was no such thing, and there isn’t for a college counselor. It was a school counselor, Kindergarten through grade twelve. I focused my career on college guidance, that’s what I wanted to do. So the first job I got in a high school was for college guidance specifically, and I’ve been doing that for over thirty years.
TG: Wow! And how long have you been working at the school for?
ME: At Hebrew Academy, about 20 years.
TG: What is your favorite part about the job?
ME: The kids. I feel disconnected at this point. You know, it’s very hard. I love the kids coming into the office and bopping in, and taking chocolates and candy. I miss that. I miss the one-on-one. I miss yelling at all the seniors to come into the library. I miss having the college representatives one-on-one with the kids, and interviewing, and talking, and meeting. So this year is just an aberration. I hope it’s just going to fade, and we can get back to normal, and I can have that one-on-one direct contact, and the kids can get together more freely, and we can resume life as normal. I went into it because I like the one-on-one, and I like the challenge of helping kids with their goals, and it was the only area that I could focus in on that I could actually make a difference one-on-one.
TG: What would you say is the hardest part about your job?
ME: The hardest part is watching someone being disappointed if the outcome is not exactly what they had hoped for. But in all my years of doing this, even though kids have their hearts set on going somewhere, they have never actually been there. So they end up being happy at their second choice that they do get into, or their third. So, I like seeing them come back and telling me how happy they are, and in all the years I have been doing this, very few transfer. In other words, it’s not like: “Oh my god, I didn’t get into my first choice, so I’m going to leave and transfer.” Very few people ever do that. They’re happy where they go. They make a life for themselves, they make friends, and they can’t see themselves going anywhere else. So the first part is the disappointment, but the second part is having them email me, and come visit, and telling me how happy they are.
TG: What is it like working with your daughter?
ME: It’s terrific. There’s pros and cons because, obviously, we have to remain professional. When she sees something she doesn’t like, she talks to me as if she were not my daughter as a professional and as an administrator, and I do so likewise. So we question each other just as if we weren't mother and daughter, and we act—I hope—in a professional manner with each other.
TG: I didn’t even realize that you two were related until junior year.
ME: Right? Nobody knows that! She doesn’t call me mom in the halls.
TG: What was your college experience like?
ME: I had a wonderful college experience. I went to Douglass, which was the girl’s part of Rutgers, which is no longer. Rutgers became co-ed. Rutgers was like all the schools that have transformed themselves that were separate, like Radcliffe was Harvard female before there were females into Harvard. So it was a unique experience. And then when Rutgers became co-ed, I graduated from Rutgers, and I had a great college experience.
TG: Did you have a college guidance counselor to help you in high school?
ME: I went to public high school with thousands of kids, and there was no college counselor. There was in name only, but no one to help you. Everything was done on your own in those days. In those days, we didn’t have Common Application. In those days, most kids filled out one application, or two at the most, not 15. It was a different time. You filled it out in paper and pen. It wasn’t computerized. It was a long time ago.
TG: That kind of sounds a lot easier than it is today.
ME: It was. You know what, as much as everyone is obviously cyber-crazy, it was an easier time because there wasn’t the same amount of pressure. It was a simpler time. I sound like Abe Lincoln, right? But it was an easier and simpler time, and it was a lot less pressure. It wasn’t a frenetic “how many colleges can you apply to in one fell swoop?” It wasn’t like that in my generation at all. People applied to one or two colleges of their choices. They hoped they got in; they hoped that if they needed financial aid, they got financial aid. There were student loans that most people applied for and got. And if you went into education—which I did—with a student loan, they took 50 percent off your loan, ten percent every year for five years. It was the national student education loan; it doesn’t exist anymore. It was a different world.
TG: What are your hobbies?
ME: Being with my grandchildren, swimming, being in the pool, shopping.
TG: What’s your favorite store?
ME: I guess Bloomingdale’s. Neiman and Saks are up there with it.
TG: What’s your favorite food?
ME: Salad. Just salads, and I like vegetables.
TG: If you could use three words to describe yourself, what would they be?
ME: Warm, loving, professional.
TG: What advice would you give to a freshman?
ME: Enjoy high school. Make the most of it. Join as many clubs and activities as you can—after COVID, obviously. And make it the start of a happy and successful career in high school, because grades count as a freshman. I tell them that all the time, and they don’t believe me, but it does. But I want them to also enjoy, and be part of the school community. They are lucky to be in such a wonderful school environment, and I really believe Hebrew Academy affords kids the best of all worlds. It’s a great academic institution, and it has so much to offer in terms of values, and Jewish life. The academics, obviously, are important, but to be part of the school community like Hebrew Academy, I tell them how lucky they are. The faculty, staff, and administration are amazing. Any kid who walks into this building is very fortunate to have that.
Compiled By Tziyona Gheblikian (12th Grade)