Many high school students walk around feeling like the whole world is against them, teachers included. With this mindset, students may dread coming to school each day and hope to find a cheery adult somewhere in the halls. Counselor and former math teacher Happi Bills thinks quite the opposite and is definitely an example of a teacher who doubles as a friend. She believes teenagers are interesting, which led her to work at Niles West.
Bills most definitely lives up to her first name with her bubbly personality that uplifts everyone’s mood; she inundates students with her positivity as soon as they walk into her office. The walls are bright pink with decorative crystal butterflies fluttering above her desk.
Being true to herself and accepting every part of her personality is a concept Bills lives by and hopes to inspire in students every day.
“I believe that for all of us – counselors, teachers, kids – if we are our most authentic selves then people will positively respond to us. I am kind of a goofball by nature, and it took me a long time to embrace that about myself,” Bills said. “But once I did, I was happier, and I found I connected better with others because I was more comfortable with myself. I hope my students will follow my example and just be themselves and trust that that is the best person they can be.”
Walking into the counseling office, you can recognize Bills by the excitement in her voice. She greets everyone with a smile and warm hello as she sees them, even if she isn’t their counselor at the school. She likes to make everyone feel welcomed and talks to everyone comfortably and openly.
“She’s totally one of my favorite people ever. She’s always so full of energy and so happy and puts me first, even when she’s busy,” junior Yasmine Hijazin said. “I know her really well. She helped me with a lot of things, and I’m really comfortable with her. I know a lot of other kids like her too. She’s the best.”
If you’ve never met Bills, you might think of her as a goofy and out of the ordinary character with pink streaks in her hair, but she is a personable, caring individual who is always willing to listen.
“She is really supportive and opens a lot of doors for everyone. She is so sweet and caring and really cares about all of her students. Ms. Bills made adjusting to high school easy and as fun as possible for me,” junior Nadia Firozabadi said.
Any high school student can agree that they have their favorites in teachers and staff members around the school, but it’s always nice to see a smiling face around, and many find that in Bills.
“I have so much fun and am laughing all day long with my kids. I feel so humbled when my students trust me with their problems and feel honored when I can love and support them through the difficulties of adolescence,” Bills said. “Honestly, I can’t believe this is my job. For me, it truly is the best job in the world.”
Sidney Hines contributed to this article.