Adel Boyd knew from a young age that she wanted to work with children. She considered becoming a teacher or a pediatrician—even became a Certified Nursing Assistant—but it was during her undergraduate program at Salisbury University that forever changed her path forward.
“During one of our projects, we had to reach out to young boys and girls from low-income families who couldn’t afford simple things that many of us take for granted, like groceries and body wash,” she says. “I realized then I wanted to become a school counselor to find those hidden kids who got good grades but still needed a counselor. They’re often overlooked because they may not have behavioral issues or academic concerns, but still have hidden emotions and needs.”
Boyd understands because she was a hidden kid growing up in Salisbury, attending Bennett Middle and High Schools. “My parents divorced when I was 5 years old and my single mom took care of me and my four older sisters. A school counselor would have been nice to speak with during that time, other than when it was time to switch classes,” she says. “There are many kids who are dealing with divorce or parents working late, and administrators and teachers may not know what the kids are going through unless it impacts their grades or personal conduct in class. That sometimes is too late. I understand what they’re experiencing, and I want to help.”
After earning her BA in Human Communications from Salisbury, she earned her MS in Education in School Counseling from Wilmington University. Pursing her MSEd online allowed her to remain in Salisbury and continue to help students in her local community. Prior to joining MBRT, she served students as a long-term counselor substitute in Delmar, North Laurel and Northwestern Elementary Schools; Bennett Middle School; and Wicomico High School.
Becoming a school counselor has been a tremendously rewarding experience for Boyd, even though she had different plans for her future. “Looking back to when I was in ninth grade, I honestly didn’t think this is where I’d be,” she says. “I had it in my head that I would go to Howard University and become a nurse, then stay in Washington, D.C. Had someone talked to me earlier on in high school about a cumulative GPA and the importance of academics, I probably would not have had such a busy social calendar. Instead, I probably would have been a better student like I was in 10th through 12th grades.”
Everyday survival, she says, is a common barrier to matriculating to college. “When kids see their parents work two to three jobs and are also required to get a job to further help out at home and make ends meet, it can be challenging on so many levels to break the cycle by going to college,” says Boyd.
Now, as Next Generation Scholars coordinator at Wicomico Middle and High Schools, she aims to make sure every student she meets with understands the importance of early preparation for college. “I believe students can be successful in their futures, and it all starts with education and motivation,” says Boyd. “I know life can easily get in the way, and that’s why I’m dedicated to getting into their heads early to positively impact their futures.”
Her mom, an elementary school teacher, did the same for her and her sisters. “Two of my sisters are nurses, one works for the United States Coast Guard and another works here locally at Tyson Chicken,” says Boyd. “We are my mom’s biggest success; she’s most proud that her five daughters graduated college.”
When it’s time for her Next Generation Scholars to graduate from high school, Boyd hopes she has inspired many of them to pursue higher education. “I want to be that person they remember when they look back at their primary school years,” she says. “They can thank me by working hard to achieve their dreams and realizing education can help them get there.”