The History Behind Your AHS Counselors

The guidance counselors are two of the biggest support systems offered to AHS students.


Reese DeArment

Alyssa Dovenspike is one of the two high school guidance counselors. They provide multiple resources to students and attend meetings on a daily basis.

Reese DeArment, Staff Writer

Going to the counselors might be a monthly, weekly, or even daily occurrence depending on the student. It is a safe and healthy space to talk about things students need to get off their chests or anything they need to talk about. Some go there to talk about their feelings, issues, and sometimes even their past. But have you ever wondered what the counselor’s high school lives were like? 

This is Sarah Rose’s first year as a counselor at Atlantic High School. She attended Ankeny high school and graduated in 2009 right before the school split. While there, she participated in wrestling cheerleading, track, choir, show choir. She also took part in Business Leaders of America and worked at Fareway frequently. 

Sarah Rose is a guidance counselor at AHS. This is her first year working alongside Dovenspike in the counseling office.

Rose describes her high school experience as “a lot of fun,” always having lots of people to hang out with and always trying new things. She took difficult classes and always tried hard to make friends with the “floaters,” and the people who needed someone to talk to. Rose’s favorite high school memory was going to state wrestling for cheerleading, and also going to prom. 

During school, Rose was strongly influenced by her history teacher to go into a profession with kids and adolescents. After high school, she began college at the University of Iowa wanting to become a mental health counselor. However, Rose feared she would not be able to separate her job from her personal life. Alternatively, she went to DMACC and received her AA. Afterward, Rose graduated from UNI in 2014 with a degree in social studies teaching. She then got her master’s degree in counseling through Drake University. 

Before deciding to become a counselor, she was a social studies teacher in Carlisle for five years. Now working at AHS, “Something crazy happens every day,” she said, also attending “Lots of student meetings.” Her general duties consist of responding to emails and meeting with students and parents to talk about a broad array of subjects. She also goes to the middle school every day and teaches a careers class to the students.

 Rose’s favorite thing about being a counselor is getting to know the students on a “personal” level. “They come to you for some of the worst things that are going on in their lives, and I love being able to give them support.” Sophomore Charlotte Saluk said, “It’s just such a welcoming environment, I feel very safe and respected there.”

It’s just such a welcoming environment, I feel very safe and respected there.

— Charlotte Saluk

Guidance counselor Alyssa Dovenspike has been working at The Atlantic High School for almost 2 years. She went to high school in Indianola, Iowa, and graduated in 2010. While in high school she participated in volleyball, band, orchestra, church youth group, and Spanish club. Her favorite high school memory is going on a band trip to Colorado with all of her friends. Overall, her high school experience was described as “typical” for most students. “I wasn’t super popular, and I was involved in a lot of things in a bigger school, so it depended on the day.”

Throughout high school, she knew she wanted to work with kids, but she never thought she would be “be back” in the environment. While she attended church camp, her supervisor also had a lot of influence on her decision to be a counselor and to work with kids.

After graduating high school, Dovenspike went on to obtain her bachelor’s degree in human services at Grandview University and got her master’s degree at Capella University, an online school. Before coming to Atlantic, she worked as the intermediate counselor at AHSTW for grades 4th-8th. She then came to Atlantic in the fall of 2019. Since then, every day is usually meetings, responding to emails, and scheduling. “We usually try to live by our schedules, and we get to make our own structured schedules for every day.” She said. “We meet with students 1 on 1 and in small groups, all that fun stuff.” Dovenspike enjoys daily time with students, but there is always a “random crisis” that happens every once in a while. 

 Senior Ariel Clark was going through a breakup and went to the counselors for some guidance. “Dovenspike helped me write a letter to my parents to recommend therapy.”

Dovenspike helped me write a letter to my parents to recommend therapy.

— Ariel Clark

Dovenspike’s favorite thing about being a counselor is that “every day isn’t going to be the same,” she said. “If I come home after having a rough day, that doesn’t mean the next day is going to be the same.” She loves helping to make a difference in the lives of the students. Sophomore Edria Brummer was going through a rough time in January of 2020 and consulted Dovenspike for support. Brummer explained, “She really helped me talk through my feelings.”

She really helped me talk through my feelings.

— Edria Brummer

There is a lot more to being a counselor than just talking through problems with students. Even when the job is tough, the counselors are always focused on the best interest of AHS students. Rose and Dovenspike serve as a reminder to students that if they’re ever having a rough day, week, or even month, the two counselors are always there for support.