For uncertain seniors, juniors, Henry Canfield provides valuable aid


Abigail Thomas

Henry Canfield discusses his role in providing options to students with junior Camron Betler and other students at the Career Fair.

Abigail Thomas, Editor-in-chief

    Henry Canfield is a Career and College Counselor on campus who aims to help students figure out what the next steps in their lives are.

    “I’m here to be another resource to the counseling department to help them wherever I can,” Canfield said.

    Canfield travels between Plano Senior and Plano West. He is a Wildcat on Wednesdays and Fridays, and a Wolf on Tuesdays on Thursdays. He’s here as one of 15 other counselors distributed across Collin County as part of a program started by Collin College in the fall of 2017.

    “That’s when they really started working together with all the school districts to ask if they would even be interested in having a person like that here,” Canfield said.

    Since this is a relatively new position on campus, Canfield’s job description is not just one specific title, and he’s not just a Collin College promoter. No matter what the student wants to become in life, he is there to help them on the path to that career.

    “While I’m paid by Collin, it’s not for Collin per se, it’s for the students. I’ll help them figure out how to get wherever they need to go, whether that means Collin or somewhere else,” Canfield said.

    Canfield’s first goal is to see where he fits in on campus. He wants to get to know the school, the environment and what the needs of the students are, generally speaking. After that, he’s there to assist any of the students that need direction or guidance.

    Fashion teacher, Bonnie Turnbo, invited Canfield to speak to her classes when she discovered that there was a Career and College counselor. This provided a causal and informal way for Canfield to introduce himself to the students, and a way for him to provide basic information for them as an open invitation in case they have any specific questions.   

    “We didn’t really get much into what Collin has to offer, but he did tell them to be ready for college and that he’s there to help them in the transition from high school and in any direction that they need to go to,” Turnbo said.

    Before becoming a counselor, Canfield was in the Air Force for four years as a security and mobility supervisor. He received an honorable, medical discharge and that catapulted him into the counseling world.

    “One of the great things coming out of that was that they set me up with a vocational counselor. They did all of these tests and the thing that kept coming up was counselor or educator,” Canfield said. “In high school I never thought I would be in education or a teacher or anything like that.”

    The Air Force helped pay for his schooling and he graduated with a masters degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Shortly after graduating, he took his wife and their five-year-old son and went to China for just over 14 years to teach English at a non-profit Chinese university in Central China. He also has a Masters of Education from the University of Oklahoma that he earned in Shanghai.  

    “I was able to use my counseling degree a little more, so I taught AP psychology for eight years, I was a school counselor at the university for years and I was also a volleyball coach” Canfield said. “That’s where I first got to practice being a counselor in a school setting.”

    Canfield also did internships and practicums for counseling in Florida before going to China. His extensive background in counseling and his general life experience makes him extremely qualified for the job at Plano Senior High School.

    “Mr. Canfield has helped me to learn more about Collin College and the application process. By coming in and having a meeting with him, he discussed the admission process, class options, transfer schools and scholarship opportunities,” senior Ashley Hooten said.

    Canfield’s office is located in the cafeteria adjacent to sub-school. Anyone can set up an appointment with him either by emailing him at [email protected], or by scheduling a time in person. He is eager and ready to help every student succeed in college and their future career.

    It’s never too early to really start thinking about what’s next, according to Canfield. He advises that students don’t freak out. Instead, they should breathe, relax and not worry about the whole picture at one time.

    “Just do the next step, and if you don’t know what the next step is, ask someone,” Canfield said. “Come see me, see your alpha counselor or wherever you’re comfortable, just take the next step.”