Mysterious faculty member shares insight

Margaret Miller

Mr. Lee Soderlind has been a faculty member of BSM for ten years yet remains quite mysterious among the student body. Mr. Soderlind, the coordinator of the Insight Program, helps students by supplying a drug and alcohol assessment and educational program. Few people know him, and even fewer people know about his interesting pass time .

If a student commits a drug or alcohol offense he/she must visit a licensed drug counselor. The student can pick whether he/she would rather visit a counselor outside of campus and pay the fee as well as supply the school with the evaluation or meet with Mr. Soderlind. If a student does get caught by a police force using or selling illegal drugs, the school is contacted and arrangements to help the student are put into place.

While working with students, it is Mr. Soderlind’s job to make an evaluation and conduct the meetings as casual therapy. “To make an assessment I mainly talk to the students and understand what they are doing with the drugs or alcohol,” said Mr. Soderlind.

Mr. Soderlind likes to maintain strong relationships with his students throughout the year. “Trust is very important, and it must be developed,” said Mr. Soderlind. “I really want the students to understand that everything that is said to me is under complete confidentiality.” The sessions with Mr. Soderlind range throughout the year with the frequency depending on the student in particular. Usually the range is within six-to-ten sessions, both in groups and individually.

Mr. Soderlind is at BSM on Mondays and Wednesdays meeting with students irregularly throughout the year. “[The session times] really depend on when the student needs my assistance,” said Mr. Soderlind. He often sends class passes to students so they can talk, getting them out of class and discussing their personal issues though the Insight Program he coordinates.

Even kids who have not committed an offense are welcome to talk about any drug related issues they might be facing. “Any family member or student can stop by for volunteer counseling,” said Mr. Soderlind. Both students and parents can easily ask Mr. Soderlind questions or for advice without worrying about confidentiality problems.

Outside the walls of BSM, Mr. Soderlind spends his spare time as a beekeeper on his farm in Wisconsin. Mr. Soderlind has been beekeeping for about eight to ten years and about once a week this time of year Mr. Soderlind drives one hour to his farm in Wisconsin. Though he collects a large amount of honey, he doesn’t sell any of it on a regular basis, rather “[a jar of honey] really makes a great gift and its taste is very sweet,” said Mr. Soderlind.

In fact, he also connects his favorite hobby of beekeeping to his job as counselor, “Honey bees are like 16-year-old girls and boys with cellphones, i.e. continuous communication amongst themselves.”

However, Mr. Soderlind does not collect the honey on his own, but rather it is more of a family activity. Mr. Soderlind is greatly helped out by his son for the collection of the honey from the hive, “I really couldn’t do it without him, he’s a great amount of help,” said Mr. Soderlind.

Mr. Soderlind is a very helpful staff member for many students of BSM by serving as a drug counselor. Whether he is helping with the guidance of students in bad situations or simply being somebody to talk to, Mr. Soderlind is not someone to keep secrets from.