by Han Li ’26
As a wide-eyed freshman, I struggled to adjust to the then brand-new environment of Bellarmine. Now, as I watch the Class of 2027 walk through our campus, I’m glad I had a wonderful personal counselor freshman year to guide me.
Students have to balance so many things, from school, to relationships, to extracurriculars, to themselves. It’s a constant juggling act that requires time management, prioritization, and a deep understanding of their own needs. In the classroom, they strive for academic excellence, attending lectures, studying, and completing assignments. Outside of school, they navigate the intricate web of social connections, nurturing friendships and sometimes managing the complexities of romantic relationships. But no matter what the situation, all students at Bellarmine are able to talk to wonderful personal counselors that can guide them through their high school journey.
Our newest counselor, Mrs Maka, has assumed the role of personal counselor for the sophomore class of 2026. A San Jose Native, she talked with me on why she chose to work at Bellarmine, “After I finished grad school, I tried to come back so that I could work in San Jose. It’s always been a big thing of mine or a big value of mine to be able to kind of work in the community I grew up in and I live in”.
After gaining her undergraduate degree from SF State, Mrs. Maka spent several years at nonprofits primarily focused on youth programs and gender-specific initiatives. Eventually deciding that she wanted to do more, Mrs. Maka went to grad school at SFSU where she completed several internships throughout the K-12 system. She then spent seven years working at John F. Kennedy High School, a Title One public high school in Fremont prior to joining Bellarmine.
Eventually, Mrs. Maka started looking for a change. Her husband, a Bellarmine alumnus, suggested the perfect opportunity at BCP, emphasizing the school’s strong sense of community and the respectfulness of its students, “He always talked about how this was a great school for him to be all his friends are really respectful and the great community and so since I’ve been here, I’ve really seen that firsthand”.
One of Ms. Maka’s favorite aspects of Bellarmine is the school’s dedication to carving out “community time” during the school day. This time is intentionally set aside to allow students to attend office hours, take mental health breaks, or simply relax and bond with their peers. She sees this as a rare and valuable practice, providing students with a chance to take a break from their academic responsibilities and focus on other aspects of their well-being.
In her free time, Ms. Maka enjoys a variety of activities. She is an avid reader and even runs a book club where members read and discuss a new book each month. She also loves engaging in arts and crafts projects and is particularly enthusiastic about her Cricut machine, a tool for creating custom designs. Additionally, she enjoys exercising, going for walks, and exploring new restaurants in the Bay Area.
Ms. Maka’s family includes her husband and a soon-to-arrive addition. She and her husband are expecting their first child, a baby girl, in December, and she will be taking some time off next semester. Within her immediate family, Ms. Maka is one of five siblings, and they all reside in the local area. Her father is a pastor, and she grew up in a church community in San Jose. She also has nieces and nephews, contributing to her growing family.
The Bell Online would like to extend a special welcome to Ms. Maka!