When Yveline Hulse received an email from the Indiana School Counselor Association (ISCA) notifying her she’d been chosen as Exemplary Elementary School Counselor, she was pleasantly surprised. A private person who shies away from attention, she was nonetheless honored to be recognized for her work at Coolspring Elementary School.
“Sometimes, [counselors] can be forgotten or overlooked,” Hulse said. “We are actually an incredibly important part of the education system.”
Though Hulse herself was surprised by the nomination, no one who knows her would say the same. Her peers, as well as the parents of the children she works with every day, will attest to the fact that Hulse is hardworking, dedicated, devoted to the entire student body, and always advocates for her students, both within the school and at home.
“I’m a resource to the students during the day, but my job goes far beyond that,” Hulse said. “Being a school counselor is about encouraging social and emotional development, it’s about teaching students to reason and understand consequences.”
In November, Hulse traveled to the ISCA Conference in Indianapolis to attend a luncheon in her honor. For a first-time visit to the conference, it was a special experience. Hulse was especially proud to be representing Michigan City Area Schools.
“I devote my career to advocating for the students at MCAS,” she said. “We have a good school system—we’re a team here, doing what we do best, which is educating great future leaders.”
With her extensive background in social work and counseling, Hulse has made a significant impact in the lives of the Coolspring Elementary students in the two years she’s worked there.
“I tell the kids, ‘When I walk through the doors in the morning, I’m walking in for you,’” she said. “I’m there to serve the kids. And our kids are good kids. Our goal is to do the best we can by them every day.”
Even when she isn’t in her office or holding any appointments, Hulse makes a point of engaging with her students. As they pass by in the hallway, she’ll remind them to make it a great day, because the choice is theirs, or she’ll ask them to stop and tell her what they’ve learned today.
“I like to give them food for thought whenever I can,” Hulse said. “We don’t have to be in a classroom to learn, we’re constantly learning.”
Hulse also believes it’s never too early to start preparing children for their futures, including the idea of college.
“At this age, of course, a lot of children have no idea what they want to do, and that’s great!” Hulse laughed. “They’re just starting to explore those thoughts, and I want to always encourage them to do so. Some are already looking forward to going to college, and some are excited to stay in their communities and contribute.”
In January, Coolspring Elementary will be hosting “Lunch and Learn” with Franciscan Health and the Michigan City Police Department. The event will allow students the chance to learn about all the rich opportunity in health care and criminal justice fields. Hulse looks forward to it and is ready to lend a listening ear to any questions her students have about their career choices.
“I believe in creating systematic change through this profession, and through collaboration and advocacy,” Hulse said. “That’s a key element to my role, as it is to all counselors.”