Counselor Mrs. Laurie Tristan wins Counselor of the Year for Orange County

Tristan, who has spearheaded MacArthur’s MacTivities and this year’s seminar class, won the Orange County School Counselor of the Year award.

In February of 2021, Mrs. Laurie Tristan won the Counselor of the Year Award of Orange County.  One of Tristan’s school counseling colleagues had nominated her for this award.  Tristan filled out an application that was selected by the Orange County Department of Education. 

One of the notable accomplishments Tristan rolled out was MacArthur’s grade-level specific lessons.  During each six-week grading period, the counselors would hold assemblies through one subject area to teach lessons on substance abuse, keeping grades up, and other topics that are important to students.  Tristan wants all MacArthur students to feel respected and cared for, so Tristan and Counselor Ms. Christine Silva created the lessons based on student needs.  Tristan also offers college and career exploration as well as life advice. 

Tristan has worked in the Santa Ana Unified School District for 24 years and has been a counselor at MacArthur for 9 years.  Tristan worked at MacFadden Intermediate for fifteen years before coming to MacArthur.  She counsels students 6-8 grade with last names M-Z.  According to Tristan, her motivation comes from the trust of her students when students come to her for academic or emotional advice she offers them her support. 

“Knowing that your lives are entrusted to my care every day is what motivates me to do my best.  I have two boys, but I consider all of you my ‘children’ because I know that when my boys ever need help, I want to be the school counselor that I hope they would want to have in their life for support.” said Tristan.

One of her first initiatives at MacArthur was the MacTivities program, which is a college and career exploration program that was created in 2014 by both counselors.  Though MacTivities is on pause because of the pandemic, Tristan expects it to return when on-campus instruction is possible. 

For MacTivities, there are 20 different activities per grade level for students to complete.  When students complete more than half of the activities, they earn a field trip to a university.  About 150-200 students complete MacTivitives to earn a trip and college gear.  Tristan and students have visited USC, UCLA, Cal State Fullerton, Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, University of San Diego, Point Loma University, Cal State Channel Islands, Biola University, and Cal Poly Pomona. 

“We (the counselors) both had a vision and belief in helping our students have opportunities to explore their future!” said Tristan.