The Student News Site of East Lansing High School

Portrait

The Student News Site of East Lansing High School

Portrait

The Student News Site of East Lansing High School

Portrait

Monica Guerra, behind closed doors

What Guerra does for the school and what the school does for her
Monica+Guerra+stands+at+front+door+greeting+students+are+walking+into+school+on+Oct.+26.+%0A%0A
Photo by Joelle King
Monica Guerra stands at front door greeting students are walking into school on Oct. 26.

When someone walks through door one in the morning, they’re greeted by Monica Guerra with a warm smile. However, her job goes far beyond a smile. Guerra is a part of the security team. Her job is to keep watch over the cameras on the school’s exterior and incoming visitors to make sure that they belong in the school. 

Meeting so many people and starting conversations could be challenging for some people, but Guerra’s background helps her overcome what might become awkward conversations for some. All together, Guerra has worked in higher education for 14 years, before she came here, she was working at a shelter through her church that targeted sex trafficking with teen girls and young women. 

After a two-year break, Guerra decided she wanted to return to work. However, she wanted to be in an education setting around instructors and students instead of the work she had done in the past.

“I saw this job, [ it was] good with family balance, schedule, and being off with my kiddos. So, I thought it would be a great fit,” Guerra said.

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This was her first time working with adolescents causing her to experience a sort of culture shock. When she was growing up, she didn’t have the kind of mental health and safety support that she sees at the high school now.

“Learning to empathize [with] what you’re going through is very different from what I went through in school,” Guerra said. “ It actually changed my relationship with my teenager. It’s more check-ins and that balance with school. I don’t want him to have those crashes with his mental health that I didn’t really think of until I got here.”

The current weather has helped Guerra to see students’ faces in order to confirm their identities; however, the upcoming cold weather could become a challenge.

“When winter comes, everyone’s bundled up,” Guerra said. “So, it’s [going to be] hard to tell who’s a visitor, teacher, instructor, or a parent, because they [all look similar]. So it’s just, you know, stepping out, having that conversation [with the visitor], and making sure that I’m covering all my bases.” 

While working here has greatly changed Guerra’s outlook on relationships with her own children, Guerra being at the school has changed our relationship with how we might view the student safety team. 

 “[Being a part of] the safety team, [our goal is] keeping you safe,” Guerra said. “But we’re also an open ear [for the student body] to get support, which I think is great.” 

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About the Contributors
Liliane Klotz, Staff Writer
Liliane is in the class of 2026 and is a staff writer for Portrait.  This is her first year on staff as a sophomore.  Liliane's favorite thing about journalism is sharing stories that would other wise go unheard. When she's not in the newsroom, Liliane spends most of her time dancing and in her free time she enjoys crafting.
Joelle King, Photography Editor
Joelle King is in the class of 2025 and is a Photography Editor for Portrait.  This is her second year on staff as a junior.  Joelle's favorite thing about journalism is telling stories through video. When she is not in the newsroom, Joelle loves competitive dancing and reading.

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