Humans of Lincoln East: Carol Cruickshank

When stepping into the East High Counseling Center, a student may be looking to make a schedule change, asking for help with a college application, or wondering what scholarships are available to them. What’s the one thing these all have in common? A student pushing themselves toward a certain goal. However, East High students aren’t the only ones in the building pushing to better themselves and the world around them.

Carol Cruickshank holds the welcoming smile at the Counseling Center Welcome Desk. Whether or not you can see it under her mask, her refreshing, upbeat attitude still shines through.

Having lived in Lincoln all her life, Mrs. Cruickshank has a tie to the community, and honestly can’t see herself working anywhere else. With her job duties ranging from helping students make appointments, to keeping testing files, to running the website, and even to doing the weekly newsletter, nothing makes her happier than the students. After being at East for 20 years, Cruickshank has seen many students pass through these halls. She says, “There’s a lot of students that just want to fit in.” But what does fitting in mean?

It means growth. Fitting in doesn’t mean joining the “cool crowd,” or having the most expensive pair of shoes. “I tell you to open up yourself to opportunities, [and] that can be kind of a scary thing. You just have to take one step forward.” And students have done just that. Cruickshank has observed many students grow mainly in confidence in her time at East, whether it be academically or personally. However, Cruickshank hasn’t only observed growth, she has experienced it herself as well.

In her job, change occurs quite often. Whether it be with the change of students in the hallway, advancements of technology in our world, or the recent adaptation to COVID-19, Cruickshank has to change her routine quite often. She uses a lot of technology in her everyday job, so while changes in technology can be hard to keep up with, she also is grateful for when they make her job run easier. “It’s safer and it’s more convenient and efficient… From the kiosk up until appointments and Zoom, I just can’t imagine what [we’d do] if we didn’t have that technology.”

Through students, Cruickshank also finds growth. When asked in what way she sees the students change and how it affects her, she claims, “I’m excited on their behalf, [but] I’m always sad.” As she sees students leave, she gets excited for them as they pursue their dreams, but after having some for four years, it’s always hard to see them go.

As she begins to plan for her own retirement as well, it’s difficult for her to picture herself working anywhere other than East. “I don’t know if I’ll work after I leave here. I don’t know. I think I just want to spend time with my husband.” Family and her children are all important in her life, and she looks forward to “being closer and seeing [her] children.”

Carol Cruickshank is well-known throughout the East community as the kindest person. Al Carothers walked by during the interview, and emphatically said, “Carol is the nicest person you will ever meet. Honest to God. I don’t know anyone nicer than Carol. That’s the truth.”

Sitting at the desk in the Counseling Center is a wonderful, kind, passionate person. The next time you visit, get to know her, as she would love to get to know you! “I love East High School. I love our faculty and our staff and our counselors I work with. I just, I’m in the right place.”