PWCA History

“Professional Service with the Personal Touch”


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A Brief History of PWCA

For more than half a century, the Piney Woods Counseling Association has been serving the counselors and other mental health professionals of East Texas as a resource for professional support, networking, and education.

In the fall of 1957 Melvin Wester, Longview High School counselor, felt the need to connect with other counselors in the area.

The first counselor meeting was held at that time in Longview, Texas with six counselors attending. They were Dean Hinton, Mildred Sitton, Elsie Bundy, Lollie Gunn, Frances and Melvin Wester. Melvin served as host and Frances, his wife, made cookies to serve the newly formed group. For the first few years, the group was a loosely knit group with no officers. The counselor who served as host also served as chairperson.

The group began to grow as counselors continued to invite other counselors. Longview, Nacogdoches, Marshall, Gladewater, Kilgore, Hawkins, Henderson, Hallsville, White Oak, and Mt. Pleasant were among the first schools to be represented. The group met twice per semester to share their concerns and experiences.

Members of this group met informally from 1957 to 1966, when they decided to form an official organization of counselors. A committee was appointed to work toward this goal. On February 14, 1967, thirty-two counselors from the East Texas area met in the Administration Building of the Longview public schools. The group was welcomed by Wyatt McDowell, Longview High School counselor, who served as host. Louise Jeter, Kilgore High School counselor, presented a tentative constitution for the Piney Woods Area Counselor Association.

The organization's name has been changed at least three times to be in compliance with the state organization. In November 1973, the Piney Woods Area Counselor Association became the Piney Woods Personnel and Guidance Association (PWPGA). In the spring of 1984, PWPGA changed its name to Piney Woods Association for Counseling and Development (PWACD). Finally the current title, Piney Woods Counseling Association, was adopted in the early 1990s.

(This space reserved for the history yet to be written...)