Jessica Harley, a counselor at Frankfort High, recently received the Career Guidance Award from the Kentucky Association of Career and Technical Education. (Photo submitted)

Getting students to graduation is important to Frankfort High counselor Jessica Harley.

So is getting them ready for life after high school.

“We make sure all our graduating seniors have had those conversations about career opportunities and school choices,” Harley said. “We want them to know what their options are when they walk across that stage.”

Harley, who is starting her fourth year as a counselor at FHS, recently received the Career Guidance Award, given by the Kentucky Association of Career and Technical Education. The award was sponsored by Kentucky Farm Bureau.

Harley began her career in education as a family consumer science teacher at Anderson County High School, spending seven years at the school before becoming a counselor.

She and Jenny Richardson are counselors at FHS, with Harley serving as senior class counselor.

“I make it a point to meet with each member of the senior class multiple times during the year,” Harley said.

“Along with being senior counselor, I’m the dual credit coordinator. I think part of this award is we have so many dual credit classes that are not core classes.”

Those include classes such as child development, computer information technology and industrial safety.

“The one course that had the most interest in dual credit was a finance course on the personal and family finance side of money,” Harley said. “It was an easy sell because we all need that, how to buy a car, what to do when you get that first paycheck.”

FHS also offers vocational education with partnerships with the Career and Technical Center at Franklin County and Trailblazer Academy in Harrodsburg.

“With this award, I feel like I should break off a chunk and hand them out,” Harley said. “This was for so many people.

“I’m blessed to work with Jenny. I worked with principal John Lyons for several years and now Tyler Reed, and I don’t think you could find administrators as committed to CTE (Career and Technical Education) as they are.”

Harley, who graduated from Anderson County, received her teaching degree from Kentucky and her counseling degree from the University of the Cumberlands.

She’s found her perfect pace to work at FHS.

“I don’t think there’s another job I’d rather have than the one I have right now,” Harley said. “I tell people no one’s told me no at Frankfort High because their minds are like mine.”

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