Welcome to Prep Guidance & College Counseling!
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As part of a Jesuit, Catholic, college preparatory school, the Guidance & College Counseling department concerns itself with the individual care and development of our students. The major goals of the department are academic and personal counseling. We seek to assist students in making decisions that affect their education and to implement programs that will enable them to reach their full potential. Counselors offer academic counseling that deals with the student’s practical needs: study skills, student/teacher relationships, course selection, peer relationships, career information, testing, and college selection. The goals are achieved through individual meetings and a comprehensive group guidance curriculum across four years.
Prep’s guidance program is an integral part of the overall educational program. Like an academic course, group guidance is a scheduled class that every student takes throughout his four years. Students meet with their counselor once every cycle. At every grade level, the curriculum is structured, developmental and flexible, enabling the counselors to effectively address the students’ various needs.
Also, a number of evening workshops and other programs are offered to students and their parents on the various aspects of the college admission process.
We provide personal counseling on a short-term basis to enhance a student’s knowledge and acceptance of self, as well as to support him in understanding issues and solving problems. The department provides referrals for students and families to outside counseling agencies if the need for more lengthy or specialized services arises.
Counselors maintain the confidentiality of their relationships with students. Counselors are obliged not to disclose information that a student has shared within the context of the counseling relationship, unless such disclosures are necessary to protect the student from posing a serious threat to himself or to others.
Mr. Joe Giglio, ’87
Giuseppe “Joe” Giglio, ’87 is excited to be at his alma mater, serving the Prep community as Director of Guidance & College Counseling. Mr. Giglio credits the late Fr. Ray Balduf, S.J. with developing his lifelong interest in college admission and counseling.
Mr. Giglio previously served as Executive Director of Admission and Enrollment Marketing at St. Peter’s College (now Saint Peter’s University).
Mr. Giglio had a 19 year career in college admission. He has been on the Admission team at Fordham University and Stevens Institute of Technology. He served a term as chair of the Council of Jesuit Admission Directors (CJAD) and is an active participant in regional and national professional organizations. Joe “got his start” as the student body elected representative on the Admission Committee at the College of the Holy Cross (MA).
A Hudson County native, Mr. Giglio resides in Maplewood with his wife and young son, who, since the age of three, can sing all the verses of “Pride & Glory” as well as the Prep fight song.
Ms. Mary Durante
Mary Durante was a College Counselor in Prep’s Guidance Department from 2005 to 2008. She returned to Guidance after a seven-year tenure as Vice Principal for Academics. Mary will counsel sophomores, juniors, and seniors. She will also serve as Director of Student Services, overseeing the school’s support programs for students with specific academic or health needs.
Mary is a graduate of Fordham University, with degrees from Thomas More College, the Graduate School of Education, and the School of Law. Prior to coming to Prep, she taught middle and high school students in New York City, worked for the British Open University, practiced law, and served as Director of Guidance and Curriculum at Immaculate Conception High School in Lodi. Mary has two adult children who navigated the college search process successfully and, for the most part, happily. They taught her that not every parent-child communication in junior year need be about applying to college, and that a distance of 3000 miles between college and home does not weaken the bonds between parent and child.
Ms. Sarah Morissette
Sarah Morissette is dedicated to providing guidance to students as they navigate complex issues such as academic planning and preparing for college. Sarah is a member of the American School Counselor Association, NACAC and holds a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and School Counseling for grades K-12. Sarah is a secondary school representative for NJACAC. She is passionate about helping students who are transitioning to a new phase in their academic careers.
One of Sarah’s more valuable assets is her professional experience in college admissions. A former admissions counselor at Paul Smith’s College and Saint Peter’s University, she understands the college application process from the perspective of a college admissions officer. An unique position of offering meaningful, practical advice for Prep students and families.
Sarah received her undergraduate degree in sociology from Saint Joseph’s University and her Master’s degree from West Chester University. When Sarah is not working with her Prep families, she enjoys spending time with her husband and son.
Ms. Maysoon Awwad
Maysoon Awwad graduated from NJCU with a Bachelors degree in Business Management and worked for a financial institution for the past ten years while she continued working on her Masters degree in School Counseling. She will earn her Masters in December 2020. She is very passionate about students’ mental health and wellness.
She lived in Jersey City for almost 15 years, then moved to Union. She has two sons and is a Prep Mom and is a Mom to her two rescue cats; Frankie and Milo who rule the house. She enjoys spending her weekends at their restaurant where they have live music and delicious food.
Ms. Belkise Dallam
Belkise Dallam is a graduate of LeMoyne College where she received a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature/Theater and Fordham University where she received her M.S.Ed in Counseling and Personel Services.She was the founding College Counselor at Cristo Rey New York High School in East Harlem. She later moved with her family to New Jersey where she worked as the Financial Aid Coordinator of the Educational Opportunity Program at Fairleigh Dickinson University (Metropolitan Campus). In addition to counseling, Belkise serves as Director of Diversity and Inclusion. She currently lives in Bergen County with her husband, her two daughters , her son, and their dog, Snoopy.
Mr. James Dondero, ’66, P’00
Jim Dondero, ’66, P’00 received his Master’s Degree in Student Personnel Services at Montclair State University in 1975 and holds a BS in Mathematics from Saint Peter’s University. In his 28th year as a counselor, he has been in education for 39 years, 11 of which he spent teaching Math and Computer Science. He returned to Prep in 1988 and has served as Director of Guidance and as a teacher of Precalculus and AP Statistics. He has also served at the College Board Testing Director for 28 years. Mr. Dondero also taught at Dickinson HS, Saint Joseph of the Palisades, Oak Knoll School and worked for 4 years as a programmer analyst at Morgan Guaranty Trust Company and Caswell Massey, Ltd. He is also an adjunct professor of mathematics at Saint Peter’s University.
Ms. Grace Morris
M. Grace Morris joined the Prep Guidance Department in 2011 as a Freshman/Sophomore level Counselor. Prior to joining The Prep Faculty, she worked as a School Counselor at Immaculate Conception High School, Marist High School and Bishop George Ahr High School. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Fairfield University in Connecticut, followed by her Masters degree from Seton Hall University.
Fr. John Mullin, S.J.
For the past 17 years, Fr. John Mullin, S.J. has assisted freshmen as they navigate the ups and downs of transition to high school life at Prep. His goal has been to help freshmen find the balance between working to their full potential academically and getting involved in the many co-curricular activities that Prep has to offer.
Fr. Mullin brings a varied background to his work with freshmen. He taught Biology at Prep in the ‘70s and was Chaplain in the ‘80s. He served as a parish priest at both St. Peter’s Parish and St. Francis Xavier Parish in New York City and, after earning a degree in Pastoral Counseling at Loyola University of Maryland, he worked in Campus Ministry both at St. Peter’s University and Fordham University.One of Fr. Mullin’s greatest joys is to be the guidance counselor for some of the many sons of Prep alumni that he taught or accompanied on Emmaus Retreats in the past. Fr. Mullin is moderator of SPPAC, the Performing Arts Club.
Ms. Jessica Nordstrom
Jessica Nordstrom joined the Saint Peter’s Prep community in the 2013-14 school year. She is passionate about helping students develop both personally and in the classroom, as well as preparing them for their future endeavors. Before coming to Prep, Jessica served for five years as the Assistant to the Director of College Guidance at Loyola School in New York. She received her Master of Education degree from Teachers College, Columbia University and her Bachelor of Arts degree from Villanova University. Jessica grew up in Queens and Long Island, New York but now calls Hoboken her home. In her spare time, she enjoys yoga, listening to live music, exploring the greater New York City area, and spending time with family and friends.
Ms. Robin Walters
Robin Walters joined the Saint Peter’s Prep community first as a counseling intern for the 2017-2018 school year. She loved the Prep community so much, and vice versa, she joined the team as the new freshman guidance counselor for the 2018-2019 school year! Robin is deeply passionate about and committed to working with students in developing a deeper understanding of self in order to achieve their highest potential and purpose. Robin’s professional background is in the social service field. She spent ten years working primarily with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and at risk of homelessness. Robin received her B.A. in American Studies from the University of Maryland Baltimore County. She completed her Masters in Pastoral Counseling and Spiritual Care from Fordham University.
Robin was born and raised in the Maryland/DC metro area and spent the last eleven years in Brooklyn and Queens. She is a recent Jersey City transplant and is taking great pleasure in enjoying this fascinating and eclectic city. In her down time, Robin enjoys traveling, reading urban paranormal fiction, trying new restaurants in her new city, and spending lots of time laughing with her family and friends.
Ms. Janice Martineau
Janice Martineau has been at Prep for 26 years (bene merenti 2014), and the last 18 have been spent in the Guidance/College Counseling office. Janice has enjoyed helping the young men of Prep (and their parents) navigate the application process for college admission. Janice also works very closely with all the counselors as she performs her duties as the Office Manager. A lifelong resident of Jersey City, and a die-hard Yankee fan, Janice has a daughter and three grandchildren.