Seniors face a future without a college counselor

Jaho Koo, News Editor

As the Class of 2013 closes out the year with completed college applications, a growing concern surrounds Mr. Rick Caron’s announcement: the High School College Guidance Counselor will leave in December to take a job in Montana.

Initially, the senior students were shocked. “We were in the middle of class and he just came in and announced that he was leaving and then left the room,” said Jinni Kim.

“I was surprised,” said Yoon Huh, another senior, “The news just came out of nowhere for us.”

On the other hand, some students were already used to the frequent changes the school usually goes through. Aaron Kim, who came to GSIS in 2006, said, “It happens a lot. Of course, I’m surprised but the IB Coordinator changed and the principals changed. And now, our counselor is leaving. I guess it’s another change.”

“The next day, when I was online, I found a position at the University of Montana. I filled out an online application and sent it in. I didn’t hear a single thing back from them,” said Mr. Caron, explaining how he got his new job, “It took about six weeks and I got an e-mail asking if I was interested in interviewing for the position. Of course, being from Montana and having gone to the University of Montana, I said ‘okay.’”

To prevent rumors from spreading around the school, Mr. Caron went around in person visiting classrooms to tell his real reason for leaving. Despite this, some students still believed that Mr. Caron decided to leave because he disliked the school. Mr. Caron refuted this by saying, “I love the students, I love working with the kids at school. There are a majority of teachers who are fun to work with. It was a hard decision. Montana is where I want to spend the rest of my life. I just didn’t know it’d be so soon.”

Over the years Mr. Caron has formed a bond with the students at school and the relationships are definitely mutual. “He’s more than a counselor to me,” said Tim Park, a senior student. “He’s a friend and I’m going to miss him,” agreed Suin Park.

After hearing Mr. Caron’s full story and explanation, the reaction from the students became more mixed than solely negative. Students expressed concerns with their college application process all the while congratulating Mr. Caron.

Senior student, Jae Young Nam has known Mr. Caron a little longer than other seniors. He showed enthusiastic support for Mr. Caron as said, “Everyone moves on in life and this is Mr. Caron’s time. I am definitely going to miss him, but I think it’s amazing that he was able to get his dream job.”

A female student who wishes to be anonymous said, “I understand he got his dream job, but I also wish he’d finish his previous work before leaving our school. We don’t even have a replacement counselor yet.”

“Some of my friends are scared but people shouldn’t worry too much about it,” said Justin Park, “applications are almost done.” While it is true that most of the seniors will be done with their college applications this December, some students still look towards later deadlines. Senior student, Sarah Park said, “The latest deadline for applications is March but he (Mr. Caron) is leaving four months earlier.” Sanghyun Lee also added, “Some of my deadlines are in February. I’d prefer to have Mr. Caron here; there’s a sense of approval and security if he’s here.”

The school has arranged to have Mr. Caron’s secretary, Ms. Katie Huh in charge of the later applications. Since Ms. Huh has experience in the college application process, she’ll be able to help senior students once Mr. Caron is no longer at GSIS.

Several seniors were asked what they feared the most about college applications in the future. Sanghyun Lee answered, “Trying to be more than a candidate number. Just expressing myself in the essays.” Justin Park discussed his specific problem with holding a dual citizenship, “College websites are often unclear about
whether a student should apply as a domestic student or an international student.”

All the interviewed seniors were given the chance to provide the juniors with some advice for next year. They emphasized the need to start early. The consensus was that the juniors should begin preparing for college essays during their summer break.

Mr. Caron had some words of encouragement for the students as well. “Changes can cause kids to feel like they’ve lost control,” said Mr. Caron, “But don’t give up. Stay on it and do what you’re supposed to be doing and everything will be fine. You’ll forget all about me once you get accepted into colleges. You’ll think, ‘who was that grumpy old man with a beard? He had a pretty wife. His cat was cool too.’”

Mr. Caron left GSIS on Nov. 30 of this school year, but is still helping the students and school finalize their applications and acceptance status via email. A temporary replacement should arrive on campus the beginning of second semester. A permanent replacement will be found for the following school year.