I prepped for this moment 18 years ago when I finished my last day of my internship certain that I was ready to jump into the college counseling world. HA! Now more than ever; I am a firm believer that professional development has shaped my success. It is YOU–you are who I have gained the most insight from, shared the stories with and walked away from wanting more. From the most veteran of folks in the biz, including those on the college side of the desk to those on the high school side, I thank each of you who wanted to help to a rookie like me. In many ways, I still am a rookie and now, looking back on those 18 years, I would do it all over again.

Let’s begin with the end in mind; our students are the reason why we do what we do. As we work for access and equity for all students, we feed our minds with the fellowship of WACAC. Now it is our turn to promote what allows us to go out into our prospective careers and Listen, Educate, Advocate and Develop (L.E.A.D). Whether it is a Share, Learn & Connect (SLC) program or a college fair, we have the best and most skilled group of experts to provide for our students and their families. I know first-hand that I am a better educator today because of WACAC.

This year, I am inspired by the work we will continue. Our celebration of 50 years in existence as an organization built by volunteers will take place at our annual conference in Monterey, California. I look forward to welcoming our next District Directions Program as well as following in the footsteps of our leaders (Past-Presidents & Executive Board) as we continue to lobby at our state capital and Washington, D.C. Folks, there is a lot pending in our country that affect our students’ education and our voices need to echo in the hall ways of our political leaders. Together, WACAC will be that voice.

I look forward to us coming together in Boston next week at NACAC. I know the season is upon us so I just want to share with you one of my favorite reminders, Aristotle said it best, “Well begun is half done,” and we have a fantastic start.

Sonia Ryan