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02/09/2023 08:32 AM

Karyn O’Beirn: A Focus on Supporting Morgan’s Seniors

As the Morgan School counseling administrative assistant, Karyn O’Beirn helps guide high school seniors through the stressful process of college admissions. Photo by Eric O’Connell/Harbor News

Every spring, high school seniors obsess and stress over college applications. In Clinton, the person helping guide those seniors is Karyn O’Beirn.

By job title, Karyn is the school counseling administrative assistant; as Karyn says, “It’s so much more than that.”

Though it might not feel like it now in February, spring is almost here, and for seniors at the Morgan School, that means worrying about college scholarships and potential areas of study. For Karyn, it means helping navigate the kids through those choices.

“Right now, our big focus is on supporting the students through scholarships; we have a big job shadowing program here, too, [that] I work with them on. It’s a lot of interaction with the students and the staff,” Karyn says.

“I work with a group of wonderful people who I can’t say enough about,” Karyn says.

Karyn explains that the job shadow program is a partnership between the school and the human services department in town. “It’s a really great program available to juniors in town, Karyn says. In the program, kids are able to shadow a professional in a career the kids think they might be interested in.

“It’s really good because they go to the job and get a better feel for it. Sometimes they come back and say, ‘Wow, this is really something I’m interested in,’ or some say, ‘Wow, that wasn’t really what I thought it would be. I don’t think that’s for me’,” Karyn says. “On my end, in particular, I’m working on making sure the kids are ready and have everything in order to go on the job shadow. They are still high school kids, so sometimes they can be a little shy.”

Karyn is quick to point out that with everything her department does, it’s a team effort to help the students.

In fact, her coworkers are one of Karyn’s favorite parts of her job—along with the students.

“My favorite part would be the interaction with the kids, and I also really love the people I work with,” Karyn says. “The people in this building are some of the hardest working, most caring people in town across the board.”

Of course, guiding the kids so closely as they work toward taking their next steps in life means that saying goodbye can be a bit difficult. “One of the hardest parts for me is seeing the seniors graduate. It’s very bittersweet seeing them go and saying goodbye,” Karyn laments.

Working in the Morgan School wasn’t something Karyn initially had planned. Originally, Karyn had a background in the financial world, specifically in banking.

“I did really enjoy it,” Karyn says.

Karyn took a break from working to be home with her family and has now been at the Morgan School for two years.

Besides her work in the school, Karyn is also on the Clinton Lacrosse board and teaches CCD at St. Mary’s. She says while she gravitated toward the lacrosse board because of her kid’s interest in the sport, giving back to the community has long been an interest of hers.

“It’s always been something I’ve gravitated towards. I like to give back, and helping and making a difference is something I like to do if I can,” says Karyn.

Karyn grew up in Wallingford, but she has called Clinton home for over a decade.

“My husband and I wanted a town with a smaller population, is safe, and had good schools,” Karyn recalls. “I always remembered from when I was a kid, I went to high school with some girls from Clinton who used to say how great it was. In all the years being here, we have never felt unwelcomed,” Karyn says.

Asked her favorite part about living in Clinton, Karyn replies, “My favorite thing about Clinton is the people. They make it. You can have beaches and a pretty town anywhere, but without the people, it doesn’t matter.”

In her spare time, Karyn can be found enjoying the outdoors, reading, or spending time with her friends, family, and dog.