High school counselor inspires thousands of students after starting at SPSCC

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Inspired by SPSCC: Todd Caffey

Counselor, Tumwater High School

Todd Caffey in Tumwater High School hallway

“Growing up, I dreamed of working on Wall Street,” reflected Caffey with a laugh. “But life happens.”

Todd Caffey had a rough time in high school; at one point during his senior year he was even encouraged to drop out because of his attendance record. He ended up graduating after all with a 2.2 GPA. Due to his grades, he was unable to attend four-year colleges straight out of high school like he wanted.


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Todd attended SPSCC to get a start at college. SPSCC opened a door of opportunity for him since there wasn’t any necessary requirements to attend unlike four year colleges. He entered his freshman year of college battling his addiction to drugs and alcohol. He almost didn’t continue his education.

Todd received treatment and eventually got sober by spring quarter during his first year of college. At that time, he was ready to start a new chapter in his life and was ready to learn.

 “Our college system is set up in such an amazing way for students. Where you are today isn’t where you will always have to be. And colleges like South Puget Sound help us see beyond today and what may or may not happen and instead, seize the opportunities that are waiting for us.”

Todd took as many psychology classes as he could and dove into other topics of interest such as sociology, communications, and philosophy. He eventually “discovered a passion for social service.”

While enrolled at SPSCC, his accounting professor became a role model for Todd. “I remember to this day my professor and the climate he created in his classroom. He managed to mix military precision and expectations with a genuine love for his students and a passion for his subject.”

Todd graduated from SPSCC, then transferred to The Evergreen State College and received a bachelor’s degree. Todd also has a master’s in Education from the University of Puget Sound. He has been a high school counselor since 2000, starting at Aberdeen High School, and has been at Tumwater High School since 2005.

In 2009, the High School Counselor of the Year Award was presented to Todd by the Olympia Tumwater Foundation. Todd currently serves as Tumwater High School’s Diversity Group Advisor and the varsity girl’s golf coach.

When students come into his office discouraged about their grades or other life obstacles, “I just reach into my desk drawer and pull out my own High School Diploma,” said Todd. He uses his own story a lot with his students. “I also encourage them to remember that they are doing the best they can every day.”

“Their appreciation and value of culture is what makes South Puget Sound truly great. I continue to be impressed with how the college takes notice and action to appreciate every background.”

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