By Yesenia Solis

In February of 2014 the Superintendent of the Umatilla School District Mrs. Heidi Sipe gave Mrs. Dee Lorence a call asking her if she wanted to be the new counselor at Umatilla High School. Mrs. Lorence’s phone was ringing because she had all the degrees needed to be counselor and UHS was missing one when the other counselor resigned in the middle-year.

At first Mrs. Lorence didn’t know if she wanted to leaver her current job to be the counselor at UHS but in the end she ended up taking the job as a favor to the Superintendent of the school.

“After the first day, I was hooked,” Mrs. Lorence said.

Mrs. Lorence was born in Caldwell, Idaho but she has lived in Oregon her whole life. She was raised in Brogan, a tiny dot on the map near Vale, a slightly larger dot on the eastern Oregon countryside. She has three children and one actually attends UHS where her husband is in his first year as the Principal.

Mrs. Lorence is always talking about how much her daughter, UHS junior Katelyn Lorence, loves her working at the high school. “For the most part, I think [my children] like me being at their school,” Mrs. Lorence said. “I like being connected to their friends and activities, and getting to watch them”.

She started out as a first grade teacher in McNary Heights Elementary. For seven years and after she stopped teaching at the elementary school Mrs. Lorence started substituting at Clara Brownell Middle School for couple of more years.

Then she got that call from Mrs. Sipe.

Until this day she can’t believe how much she loves her job. Mrs. Lorence says that all the students at the school are like her children because she takes care of their future. It doesn’t hurt she has a daughter at the high school which also helps Mrs. Lorence feel closer to the students she takes care of.  

The job has a lot of moving parts. Mrs. Lorence might be helping one student pick a college. Another student she will help stay on track to graduate high school. The next she could be helping guide through hard times. Some of the high school’s students she has known since elementary school.

Her job also includes being in charge of schedules, entering grades and making sure students are on track to graduate. Mrs. Lorence also likes visiting classrooms, observing students if they are struggling on any subject and she loves going to school events.

After graduating high school Mrs. Lorence got her Bachelor’s Degree and two Master’s Degrees. She got the first at the Western Oregon University because at that time she wanted to be an elementary school teacher. The first Master’s Degree was at the University of Eastern Washington and the second one she got was from the University of Southwest New Mexico. She took online programs so she could still be with her family.

Her second choice if it was not being a counselor would be volunteering at school, secretary, volunteering or an elective teacher. For the most part she loves being at UHS. Mrs. Lorence couldn’t imagine not working here in Umatilla. “It brings me a sense of fulfillment. I truly enjoy coming to work every single day!”  Mrs. Lorence said.