Backbone of the Bruin Den


Kamila Ledesma

As Wilson students go through their high school years with a number of teachers, the only constant presence are the counselors. Head counselor, Rolando Saldivar, mentions that, “it takes a village,” to manage the 3,734 students. 


Despite the pandemic, students are not giving up on their future goals and neither are the Wilson counselors. Medicine and Biotechnology counselor, Stephanie Bilvado hopes, “to increase the amount of biomed students that are going to college.” Mrs. Bilvado herself is a graduate from Cal State Fresno and Cal State Long Beach, and wants to empower students to make positive choices. 


Many counselors explained that their favorite part about Wilson is the variety of activities, and the palpable student spirit. “I love the tradition of everything. We bring the traditions alive year after year,” explained Maureen Gorman, counselor of the Technology Pathway. Mrs. Gorman is a University of South Florida, Florida State, and University of Central Florida graduate who believes her job of managing so many students is, “thrilling, hard, exhausting, but well worth it.”


Another shared quality between the counselors is their love of the city of Long Beach. Jonathan Evans, School of the Arts, Performing Arts Pathway counselor, actually graduated from Cabrillo High School, and took his passion for helping the youth back to his community. Mr. Evans is surely going to help change the lives of students. “My biggest passion is just giving kids options, exposing them to different avenues, different pathways for life.” Mr. Evans exemplifies everything good about our counseling office. 

Mayra-Murillo Reyes is the School of the Arts, Visual Arts Pathway counselor and has worked at Wilson for seven years. Just like Mr. Evans and Mrs. Gorman, she enjoys working in Long Beach because of the climate.  She especially appreciates the Bruin  school spirit. She earned a degree in political science at CSULB and her counseling credential at University of La Verne. Throughout her years at Wilson she has been accomplishing her goal of helping students develop their belief in their abilities. 


For most of these counselors their desire to work with students began early on. Ariel Gonzales, School of Technology counselor, saw an advertisement to be an aid in a classroom and as soon as he entered the classroom, he knew he wanted to work in schools. Mr. Gonzales got his degrees from El Camino College and Cal State Dominguez Hills, and believes that to be a counselor, “you have to be efficient with your time, but more importantly you have to be able to build relationships with the students.” When Esther Song, Wave counselor, worked at youth camps when she was younger  many people suggested that she should pursue a career in school counseling. Mrs. Song is grateful for having so many good students, and she wants to help students be able to advocate for themselves by asking questions. She attended Cal State Fullerton and the Art Center College of Design, and just like her coworkers, she wants students to understand, “that sometimes it takes a different route to get to wherever they want to go.” 


Lucas Clardy, Leadership and Public Service counselor, wants to have a positive effect on his students. “I want to make sure I am available for all of my students, and hopefully I am able to provide them with everything they need from me in terms of support for academic, emotional, or social support.” Mr. Clardy is a Cal State Fullerton and University of La Verne graduate, and loves working with kids and seeing them grow into active adults in society.


Overseeing the guidance program is Rolando Salidvar, head counselor, who also looks at all the student records and the career center. Mr. Saldivar supervises school testing such as the SAT, PSAT, and AP exams. He collaborates with the administrators in order to create a master schedule for all the teachers and students. As a graduate from CSULB, Mr. Saldivar has a deep love for Long Beach as he has lived here for twenty years and has seen the diversity grow. 


The thousands of students that Wilson is home to are all going to have their own unique story, but share the common thread that the counselors were in their corner, cheering them on to strive for their success!