College and career counselor Dr. Sharon Clanton is thrilled that Sparkman High School is in the Top 3 Alabama schools with college-bound seniors. (CONTRIBUTED)
College and career counselor Dr. Sharon Clanton is thrilled that Sparkman High School is in the Top 3 Alabama schools with college-bound seniors. (CONTRIBUTED)

Archived Story

Clanton advises Sparkman students on major life decisions

Published 5:03pm Saturday, July 13, 2013

HARVEST – Dr. Sharon Clanton’s excitement for Sparkman High School is practically contagious. She works as the Senators’ college and career counselor.

Since July 2012, Clanton has been helping students in grades 10-12, each with diverse needs. “My 12-hour workdays and Saturdays speak to my commitment to the Senators,” she said.

Sparkman’s Class of 2013 received $15 million in scholarships, compared to $10 million in 2012. Students pursuing a four-year degree increased by 20.5 percent.

Forty-one percent of graduates earned scholarships. Sparkman has advanced to the Top 3 schools for college-bound students.

“Mary Scott Hunter, our esteemed State Board of Education member, honored the Senators’ tremendous accomplishments as featured speaker at our Sparkman Senior Awards Banquet,” Clanton said.

Clanton focuses not only on college admissions but also “helping students become happy, well-adjusted contributing members of society. I work intensively to equip sophomores, juniors and seniors with knowledge … to effectively pursue their personal pathway to success on a global scale. This is a complex process.”

Her priorities involve developing a “success-oriented culture” recognizing individuality and nurturing confidence. Meeting one-on-one, Clanton maps a “personalized blueprint for success” and helps students “connect the dots” between rigorous academics and career aspirations.

Sophomores, juniors, seniors and their parents attend “individual post-secondary planning conferences” in which Clanton analyzes each student’s academic performance, course rigor and standardized testing.

“When students identify their niche, they become passionate, tenacious and self-motivated,” she said.

“It’s my privilege” to collaborate with feeder school administrators and PTO/PTA boards, she said.

Clanton is rewarded by “the sparkle in students’ eyes … and hearing the squeals from Senators who (receive) scholarships.” Parents who never attended college often email their gratitude to Clanton and desperately want their children to continue their education.

Clanton earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Alabama, a master’s degree at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, post-graduate certification in school counseling at the University of West Alabama and a doctorate degree from Capella University. She holds national certification as a global career development specialist.

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