MSU Texas graduate student essay wins honor

Recognizing 'rich tapestry' of society key to helping students succeed

MSU Texas graduate student essay wins honor

An essay by a graduate student in Midwestern State University’s Gordon T. & Ellen West College of Education received an Honorable Mention in a nationwide contest held by the American Counseling Association.

Aaron Trewitt, a teacher in the Keller Independent School District, wrote his essay on the importance of culturally competent counseling in K-12 schools, quoting poet Maya Angelou on the “rich tapestry” that is the diversity of society. That realization was not something Trewitt had thought about when he began his teaching career in band.

Being a band director and an educator came naturally to Trewitt. Growing up in Bedford, Texas, he spent many hours of his childhood in school band halls as his dad was a band director. His mother was a special education teacher. He earned his bachelor’s degree in music education from Southern Methodist University and was a band director in the Keller Independent School District for eight years. When his family began to grow, he made the decision to leave band. “I wanted to make sure I was present for my child,” he said.

For the past three years, he’s taught seventh grade English in Keller, and says it’s one of the best moves he’s made, and it’s been an eye-opener. “I’ve learned about special needs and seen a more diverse cross section of the school system,” Trewitt said. In seeing a broader scope of students, Trewitt became concerned. “We see the results when students’ mental health needs aren’t addressed. There’s a lot of trauma related to the pandemic still. In this post-Covid landscape, we need helpers.”

So Trewitt decided to become a helper, and in the school setting, he knew that meant counseling. “As a counselor, I’ll have more specific skills so I can target students’ needs and help more,” he said.

Trewitt’s parents were encouraging when he pursued his career in education – both in band and when he decided to leave band – and they’ve been supportive of his decision to earn his master’s in school counseling. “I value that,” he said. “Their support has been vital.” It is the support of his wife, though, that’s most important.” Trewitt’s wife is a nurse – also a helper. “She sees the importance in meeting mental health needs,” he said.

A friend in the West College’s master’s program encouraged Trewitt to enter. Although the online class delivery took some getting used to, he knew it was something he could handle while still working. “From peers to administration, I’ve had a lot of guidance and support. The program is well rounded and its accreditation is important,” he said. 

He credits Assistant Professors of Counseling Wendy Helmcamp and Tara Fox, Associate Professor Tiffany Stewart, and faculty member Brian Le Clair with being available for assistance. He expects to graduate in the spring of 2025.

The West College is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.

Trewitt was searching online for opportunities when he came across the American Counseling Association Future School Counselors essay competition. The competition recognizes graduate counseling students with exceptional insight and understanding about the school counseling profession and the work of professional school counselors who interact with elementary, middle school or high school students. He wrote his essay on recognizing the importance of diverse backgrounds.

“When a student feels that a teacher or counselor understands them, it completely transforms their school experience, building their confidence and motivating them to achieve. Just as teachers differentiate instruction to individualize academic interventions, culturally competent counselors elevate the strengths inherent in students’ diverse backgrounds,” he wrote. “By committing to cultural competence, school counselors enhance opportunities for diverse learning communities, ensuring that each thread in the ‘rich tapestry’ is visible and validated.”

Trewitt still helps out with band and judges contests, plays music and conducts sing-a-longs, and figures out songs to play by ear to entertain the kids. He believes in the power of music to bring people together. So while he has not left music behind, he is looking forward to his future role as a school counselor. “Children deserve a level playing field. They are owed our fiercest advocacy.”


The mission of the Clinical Mental Health with a concentration in School Counseling program at Midwestern State University is to equip the counselor with the knowledge and skill necessary to supply guidance and counseling services in a school setting. The graduate program concentration in school counseling prepares students to be public school counselors and requires 63 semester hours. Contact Assistant Professor of Counseling and Program Coordinator Tara Fox at 940-397-4141 for more information.

The American Counseling Association is a not-for-profit, professional and educational organization that is dedicated to the growth and enhancement of the counseling profession. Founded in 1952, ACA is the world's largest association exclusively representing professional counselors in various practice settings.