By Danielle Weisfisch ’20
Mrs. Marcia Hunt ’12H, Pine Crest School Director of College and Academic Advising, has long been regarded as a college counseling visionary and as one of the top college counseling professionals in the nation.
A well-known expert in her field, Mrs. Hunt has received national-level recognition, including the Association of College Counselors in Independent Schools’ Excellence in Counseling award, which is their highest honor.
She recently completed a four-year term on the Board of Trustees of the College Board, representing ten states. She currently, sits on the Advisory Board for the University of Pennsylvania and has participated on advisory boards for a number of other colleges including the University of Michigan, the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Drexel University and the University of South Carolina.
She has been a valued member of the Pine Crest School faculty since 1983 and is the proud parent of two Pine Crest alumni. In her role as the Director of College and Academic Advising, Mrs. Hunt oversees a team of counselors who work with Upper School students on planning their schedules and navigating the college application process.
“Mrs. Hunt has built an extraordinary legacy at Pine Crest over the course of more than 35 years,” said Dr. Dana Markham ’18H, President. “Throughout her rich career, Mrs. Hunt has remained a source of support and encouragement for Pine Crest students. Our students are fortunate to have her and her team as their counselors and advocates throughout their Upper School experience.”
Mrs. Hunt recently took the time to answer 10 questions about her Pine Crest experience.
DW: What was your first role at Pine Crest? Were you always a college counselor?
MH: My first role at Pine Crest was in college counseling. Before moving to Pine Crest, I taught psychology and sociology at a junior college in Central New York.
DW: Where are you from originally? What brought you to South Florida?
MH: I grew up in Buffalo, New York and then lived in Skaneateles, New York prior to moving to Florida. My husband’s law firm expanded to Fort Lauderdale and Naples, and we moved with them.
DW: What brought you to Pine Crest?
MH: The great reputation. Pine Crest was, and is, the best school in town. I had some friends who worked at Pine Crest, and my two children, Regan ’96 and Edward ’96 started here at the same time I did.
DW: How has it changed since you have been here?
MH: Physically, it has changed quite a bit. The Upper School building is entirely new, the library has been updated to include spaces for innovation and entrepreneurship, and measures have been taken to secure the entire campus. From a curricular standpoint, Pine Crest has evolved into a progressive leader in independent school education under Dr. Markham’s leadership.
DW: How do organizations like NACAC, SACAC, and College Board make a difference for students applying to college? What do these organizations do?
MH: Most college admission deans and high school counselors are members of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), and the Southern Association for College Admission Counseling (SACAC), which is the regional organization. The ethical guidelines that govern the college admissions process originate in the Assembly at NACAC. For College Board, I am a trustee, and several times a year I sit around the table with other trustees that include superintendents of school districts, college presidents, admission deans, financial aid directors, and three other counselors. Along with other high school counselors, I help voice the needs of high school students from around the country.
DW: How did you get involved with these organizations? What is like to serve as an advisor to them?
Earlier in my career, I wound up giving presentations at annual conferences and chairing events for SACAC. I was elected to a leadership position after serving in several volunteer roles. For NACAC, I ran for my position against a school counselor from Iowa and was elected. For College Board, I ran against a Florida assistant superintendent of schools. I represent the southern region of the U.S., which includes ten states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
DW: What is your best piece of advice for students as they begin their college search?
MH: I know the college application process may feel stressful. My advice to students is to know that it is all going to work out.
DW: What was Upper School Head Joseph Walters ’95 like as a student? What is like to work with him now?
MH: Mr. Walters was just as nice then as he is now. He was a very strong student and talented athlete. I attended his signing to the University of North Carolina with his family and the football coach.
Before every football game, my son used to shave Mr. Walters’ head in my guest bath. I love to see Mr. Walters every single day and am very proud of him. He is doing an exceptional job.
DW: What is the most rewarding part of working with students?
The most rewarding part is simply getting to see these great students, every day. I love getting emails from students, and I keep a folder with notes that students write me. Students keep me happy. It really is such a pleasure to work here.
DW: What would students be surprised to know about you?
MH: Many years ago, I was a ranked tennis player in the state of Florida — 11th in doubles for women 25 and older.