Student support & counseling

we’re Here for you

Comprehensive Help for All Students

We believe all students should have access to a comprehensive, developmentally designed school counseling program.

Office hours: Monday-Friday during the academic year, 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Extended office hours available by appointment.

Office phone: 616-233-5810

Academic Counseling

Counselors work with students to manage course registration, scheduling conflicts, standardized testing, career development, college selection, admissions, and financial aid. They also address student, faculty, parent, academic, or personal concerns. The Catholic Central counseling team provides the following programs for all students:

9th Grade
  • Introduction to Scoir
  • Goal-setting and school engagement
  • Career interest inventory
  • PSAT 8/9
  • Parent information meeting
10th Grade
  • PSAT
  • College presentations and local college fairs
  • Career exploration
  • Job shadowing opportunities
  • Parent information meeting
11th Grade
  • College presentations and local college fairs
  • PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test
  • College search kickoff
  • Student/parent conferences
12th Grade
  • Post-graduation planning
  • College admissions applications
  • Financial Aid information meeting
  • Parent information meeting

Student Support Services

Personal Counseling​

The Counseling Office works closely with teachers and administration to provide a network of resources to aid any struggling students and their families. Counselors are well-equipped and trained to provide personal counseling through academic difficulties, familial changes, and individual or community crises. Additionally, a team of peer ministers led by our Campus Ministry helps students connect with fellow classmates for moral support. Furthermore, our counseling curriculum integrates with existing courses such as religion and health to incorporate faith-based decision-making skills and knowledge of mental health resources.

Local Counseling Resources

The following community agencies are local options for students and their families in addition to private practice therapy:

what to expect

Communication with Students

Counselors will initiate contact with students regarding the following:

  • Course registration and scheduling changes
  • Academic concerns upon referral from parents, teachers, students, or progress reports
  • Personal concerns relating to behavior, peers, etc., upon referral from administration, parents, teachers, or students
  • Individual follow-up to counselor-led classroom lessons, including a junior conference for college planning
Communication Methods

Counselors will communicate with students and parents regarding college selection and admissions, standardized testing, career development, and financial aid information in the following ways:

  • School announcements and Focus sessions
  • Scoir emails
  • Email/letters home
  • Group informational meetings
  • Individual meetings
Outside Referrals

Counselors will make referrals to outside agencies and services for special needs and circumstances such as:

  • Academic tutoring/test preparation
  • Personal counseling
  • Job shadow opportunities
  • Paying for college
College and Career Programs

Counselors provide the following programs for college and career readiness:

  • 9th grade – Introduce to Naviance, establish goal-setting, take personality type inventory, administer PSAT 8/9 test and review scores, host parent informational meeting
  • 10th grade – Administer PSAT test and review scores, facilitate career exploration with career planning assessment, provide individual career counseling, facilitate optional job shadowing, host parent informational meeting
  • 11th grade – Invite to college rep visits and local college fair(s), administer PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, conduct college search kick-off and individual junior conferences, promote national ACT and SAT tests administrations, create College Game Plan, host parent informational meeting
  • 12th grade – Facilitate college admissions application process with deadlines and transcript/recommendation submissions, host parent informational meetings for application process and Financial Aid informational meeting, conduct pre-graduation meetings in the spring
College/Post-Secondary Planning

Counselors officially start college research and planning in 11th grade. Juniors and seniors work with our college counselor to find the best options for a college “fit.” The following resources and activities are available to all students and their parents primarily throughout 11th and 12th grades:

  • College research
  • College fairs
  • College representative visits
  • College campus visits
  • Resources on how to pay for college
  • Information on gap year, military service, and the NCAA
  • Career exploration
Career Exploration

All students will complete exercises in career exploration led by the school counselors. CC utilizes the following resources:

  • PrincipalsYou - Career Interest Profiler
  • ASVAB CEP (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Career Exploration Program)
  • Career Lunch Series
  • Kent Career and Technical Center
  • Job shadows, career seminars, and individual counseling
Social Workers

The social workers at CC:

  • Assist with the transition of students with significant intellectual disabilities or mental health diagnoses from grade school to 9th-12th grades at Catholic Central
  • Work with counselors for students with mental health needs
  • Provide crisis intervention and initial mental health therapeutic services to students and refer students and families for outside support
  • Encourage developmentally appropriate student self-determination and self
  • Develop re-entry support plans for students returning from hospitalization or other extended absences due to mental health
  • Coordinate community resources
  • Coordinate counseling support groups on a variety of issues such as bereavement, social skills, study skills, and stress management


Our school counselors adhere to ethical standards, regularly participate in professional development activities, and have obtained a graduate degree in school counseling.

Heidi Clark-Smitley – Director of Counseling and College Counselor

B.S. Taylor University

  • Major: Social Studies/Secondary Education
  • Minor: Spanish

M.A. Michigan State University

  • Major: Counseling

Kelly Meerman – Counselor – last names A-G, S-Z

B.S. Grand Valley State University

  • Major: Physical Education
  • Major Concentration: Corporate Wellness/Fitness

M.A. Western Michigan University

  • Major: Counselor Education: School Counseling K-12

Joel Passinault  – Counselor – last names H-R

B.A. University of Notre Dame

  • Major: Theology

M.A. Grand Valley State University

  • Major: Counselor Education

Kara Ziedins – Registrar and Counseling Assistant

B.A. University of Michigan

  • Major: Communications
  • Minor: Psychology

MSW University of Michigan

  • Major: Community Organizing
  • Minor: Interpersonal Practice

Patty Joynt – Social Worker

B.S. Grand Valley State University

  • Major: Sociology
  • Minor: Psychology

MSW Grand Valley State University

  • Fully licensed state of Michigan – macro, clinical school

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