In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, the district is highlighting employees with Hispanic ancestry — their cultures, achievements and contributions to our Goshen Schools family!
Meet Guidance Counselor Giancarlo Mejia
Meet Giancarlo Mejia, guidance counselor at Goshen High School! This year marks Giancarlo’s second year as an employee at the Goshen Central School District but he’s already making a big impact on our students.
Originally from Long Island, Giancarlo graduated from Roosevelt High School and then furthered his education at John’s University and Queens College, where he received degrees in Human Services and School Counseling, respectively.
Why did you get into your field of study or career?
My school counselor was instrumental in helping me navigate high school emotionally, socially, and academically. I enjoy the fact that my profession is built around building relationships with students and helping them achieve their goals. I wanted a career where I would have an impact on people and help young people discover the potential that life has to offer.
How did you get started professionally?
I worked in the academic advising office at Queens College for a long time, but after receiving my degree in School Counseling in 2014, I was offered the opportunity to serve my alma mater (Roosevelt) which I did for two years. Soon after, my wife and I moved to Orange County and then I joined Goshen High School.
What do you enjoy most about working for the Goshen Central School District?
I enjoy the camaraderie amongst the faculty and staff. My previous district was very large in size and scope and it was difficult to make connections with other staff members, but here, everyone is willing to get together, discuss, and brainstorm ideas on how to service the students. There’s definitely a ‘team’ mentality here that binds teachers, counselors, psychologists and others together.
Who had the most influence on your career?
There are way too many individuals to name, but there is one particular graduating class that stands out to me as a constant reminder of how beautiful this profession can be when it’s done from a place of good intention. During my second year, the graduating Class of 2017 suffered two losses due to illness. Those students rallied and persevered and showed a resilience that was impressive to witness. From fundraisers to help the families, to concerts and events in memory of the two students they lost, that year’s class has left an imprint in my mind that will not soon be forgotten.
What is your heritage?
My mom and my dad are both immigrants from El Salvador. I was the first in my family born in the United States and my sister followed soon thereafter. We are first generation Salvadoran-Americans.
What’s something you’d like others to know about your heritage/culture?
Despite the negative press about El Salvador, we are a people rooted in humility, work ethic, religion and community. Also, we have nice beaches ideal for surfing and we are an amazing tourist destination!
How do you celebrate your heritage/culture?
I celebrate my culture and honor my heritage by displaying various tchotchkes throughout my home. Certain fabrics, patterns, and art are deeply rooted in the Salvadoran and Mestizo histories, so I try my best to tie in some of that to our home. Additionally, I introduce people from other cultures to my country’s cuisine including pupusas, tamales and frijoles.
How do you think your heritage/culture has shaped you as a person/professional?
I think my culture is the main reason why I even got into this. When I was a senior in high school, my family had no idea about FAFSA and scholarships and things of that nature. I am most fulfilled in my career when I can inform families of all backgrounds, but particularly those of Latino and Hispanic descent, of all the opportunities that the college process and the world at large have to offer.
What things do you like to enjoy or do when you aren’t working?
I enjoy sports including soccer (Chelsea!) and baseball (Yankees!). Music is a big interest of mine as well as movies. My hobbies include reading, bike riding, and working on home improvement projects.
What’s a fun fact about you that others may not know?
I can recite all the lines from the original Toy Story.