8-15-14: Ferrucci counselor wins award for helping students succeed
8-15-14: Ferrucci counselor wins award for helping students succeed
Posted on 08/15/2014

He is the driving force behind the success of Ferrucci Junior High School’s College Bound Scholarship program, encouraging students who might not consider college because of the cost to dream big and continue their education beyond high school.


He also works tirelessly with students in the school’s Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) classes and encourages eligible African-American youth to vie for an annual incentive award that recognizes their academic excellence, community involvement, and good citizenship.


School counselor John Frazier’s dedication to seeing every student succeed was recognized in June when he was honored with the eighth annual Puyallup School District Peer Support Network Inspirational Award.


Frazier was selected from among this year’s nominees for “his outstanding cultural contributions” to Ferrucci Junior High and the school district, said Chief Equity and Achievement Officer Gerald Denman.


Denman and Superintendent Tim Yeomans surprised Frazier with the honor during an impromptu award presentation in the school office as he was surrounded by his colleagues, students, and family members.


Frazier also received a standing ovation during a recognition ceremony at the June 16 Puyallup School Board meeting.


Yeomans praised Frazier for his “relentless promotion of post-secondary opportunities.”


“Mr. John Frazier does an outstanding job of maximizing the opportunity for each child in our district,” Yeomans said. “His very welcoming demeanor and kind heart are evidence of how much he cares for each child at Ferrucci Junior High.”


Frazier keeps college at the forefront of student’s minds by lining school hallways with hundreds of university pennants from around the country.


One of the walls in his counseling office is also filled with posters featuring college and career opportunities.


It is critical, Frazier believes, to get students on track for post-secondary success well before they reach high school.


No barrier, financial or personal, is too great to overcome for any student who wants to pursue additional education, he said.


The College Bound Scholarship program, for example, provides an early commitment of state financial aid to eligible students who sign up in junior high or middle school and fulfill a pledge.


Students agree, for example, to graduate from a Washington high school or home school with a 2.0 GPA or higher, be a good citizen, and not be convicted of a felony.


The College Bound Scholarship application deadline is June 30 at the end of the student’s eighth-grade year.


Meeting the goal of 100 percent enrollment in the College Bound Scholarship program is an effort that does not always begin or end during school hours. Frazier is persistent and uses every means possible, from phone calling to emailing, to reach nearly 250 seventh and eighth graders each year and their parents.


“I will even show up at their house if that’s what I need to do to get them to sign the paperwork,” he said. “It’s all about opening doors of opportunity for them.”


This is Frazier’s eighth year as a Ferrucci Junior High counselor. Before that he worked three years as a counselor in Tacoma following a one-year internship at Ferrucci Junior High.


Frazier was the only child in his family to go to college and did so because of a few influential people, including his high school football coach and a neighbor who eventually became one of his in-laws. Both convinced him he could succeed in college, he said.


He said the struggles he experienced in school growing up make him even more determined to help others.


Frazier has given inspirational talks to junior high and high school students in the district’s AVID classes about how he overcame struggles in school, including his first year of college, and went on to be successful in both college and in a career.


The father of two gives students practical advice during his formal presentations, as well as during his school counseling sessions.


He encourages teens to apply and challenge themselves in school, get involved on campus, and surround themselves with positive friends.


A quote by author Josh Hinds posted on his counseling office wall reminds students to stay focused on their potential. It reads, “Set each day believing in your dreams. Know without a doubt that you were made for amazing things.”


Frazier graduated from Lincoln High School in Tacoma and enrolled at Western Washington University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Cultural Studies with a minor in English. He went on to earn his master’s degree in school counseling from City University.


The counselor has been a member of the district’s Peer Support Network for the past three years. The Peer Support Network began meeting in 2003 to provide opportunities for district employees to share experiences and promote diversity and cultural competency throughout the district.


Ferrucci Junior High Principal Steve Leifsen said, “John exemplifies what it means to go all in for kids…We hear students come back later and discuss the benefits they are currently reaping from the work they completed in junior high under the watchful eye of Mr. Frazier. They explain to us what a big deal it is to have that scholarship, or be in that college.”


Leifsen continued, “That is one of John’s gifts — he can see the future potential of kids long before they can and helps them realize that potential.”