Delsea Guidance Counselor Awarded State Counselor of the Year

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FRANKLINVILLE, N.J. -

It takes more than just four years of high school classes to mold high school students.

It takes teachers, coaches, counselors and staff members.

Out of all of the schools in New Jersey, one guidance counselor here in South Jersey was named No. 1 across the entire state.

“I just didn’t believe it,” said Brian D’Ottavio, a guidance counselor at Delsea Regional High School, who won the NJSCA State Counselor of the Year award. “I said: 'Wow, that’s incredible.'”

For D’Ottavio, his goals are his student’s goals.

He was my go to. Anytime I was lost, he was the first person that came to my mind.

Although he's considered the senior counselor, he takes the time to build relationships with everyone at the school.

“I want them to have great character and great morals and just be great members of our society,” said D’Ottavio. “But their goal is up to them and I just help them find that.”

D’Ottavio was awarded the 2017 Gloucester County Counselor of the Year.

He then completed an application for the state title and found out last month he won.

“He’s helped me a lot through high school and through my choices for college," said Brianna Waller, a senior at the school.

D'Ottavio also took the time to try to help her figure out what she wants to be when she grows up. 

"He has definitely influenced my life in a good way,” said Waller.

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To his students, he’s more than a counselor; he's a friend, a leader, and a mentor.

“He was my go to,” said Gabriel Valdez, a senior at the school. “Anytime I was lost, he was the first person that came to my mind. If I needed help with anything, he would help me. He’s a great counselor.”

“Brian is just an advocate for all students,” said Melissa Pilitowski, the guidance director at the high school. “It doesn’t matter [what] race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, anything. He’s an advocate for all of them. But the students feel it and they know he’s sincere.”

Outside of the guidance office, D’Ottavio is heavily involved with the students both during and after school hours.

A Newfield native, D’Ottavio says it’s an honor representing both the state and Delsea Regional High School. 

“I know what our area is like and I know the unique needs of our students in our areas, so it’s nice to sort of be home and helping people that I understand what they need to do,” said D’Ottavio.

He recently completed the application to be considered for the National Counselor of the Year title for 2019.

Although the titles are nice to have, his passion lies within the students and their futures.

“I want to see them succeed and I want them to define success the way they want to define the success,” said D’Ottavio.

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