(Photo Credit: Adriana James-Rodil/Photoshop)
It is sophomore year, and as I open the door to College Counselor Darcy Dwyer’s office for my first meeting, I am nervous, yet also excited to begin discussions of my eminent future: college. However, what I did not expect to find that day was that not only did Darcy Dwyer serve as the mediator between me and all things college, she also provided me with an outlet to discover myself, my aspirations, and who I was after four years at the Academy in the admissions process which, more often than not, results in students feeling more lost than found.
And after three years of countless meetings and hundreds of emails with questions and concerns — which she has never failed to answer — because of her dedication, I, and many others, have successfully navigated this process and become better for it. So as the seniors made their last bolt through the Academy halls on Friday, Apr. 30, it is bittersweet because although I am excited to run towards my future, I and also leaving behind the person who helped I, and my fellow classmates, get there. More importantly, however, Dwyer too will soon embark on her last day at the Academy as she begins to conclude her time as a college counselor.
As a result, she was approached by Achona Online for an interview.
Q: How long have you been a college counselor, and when did you start your career at the Academy?
A: I have been a college counselor for 33 years. From 1982-1994 I worked at Mother Theodore Guerin HS as the only college counselor for a student body of 1600 young women. This is my twenty-first year at AHN.
I also worked in college admissions for nine years — four at my alma mater (The College of Saint Catherine in MN) and five at The University of Tampa.
Q: What is your favorite memory from the Academy?
A: I can’t pick just one memory; however, I loved my diverse experiences during Mini-course week. Mission trips to the Dominican Republic, Jonestown (Mississippi) and Texas enabled me to see different parts of the country while interacting with students outside my counseling role. Ms. Linda [Ruescher] and I chaperoned ten students/parents to London during Mini Course week, which I cherished. While on campus, I loved moderating a Calligraphy course – one of my favorite hobbies. And equally poignant were the times [College Counselor Kerry] Keegan and I traveled to NYC, AL, NC, LA and GA to explore new colleges and universities.
Q: What will you miss from being a college counselor, especially being one at the Academy?
A: I will miss developing relationships with students and their families. I have loved watching our students grow and develop in all aspects of their lives. They inspire me daily.
Q: What plans do you have for the future during retirement?
A: I plan to move back to the Midwest, where I’m originally from, but I will take a huge piece of AHN with me.
Q: If you could give one piece of advice to the Class of 2021, what would that be?
A: Be patient with yourself as you make this big transition. Don’t expect everything to be “perfect” right from the start. Be open-minded. Reach out. Communicate. And remember you are loved.
Dwyer has made an unmatched and monumental impact on the futures of Academy students — both in and out of the classroom. Whether she is helping to lead a mission trip, moderating National Beta Club, sending you a congratulatory email after hearing your name on the intercom because you received an award, cheering you on as you run through the Academy halls one last time, or jumping up and down for joy after she learns of your acceptance into college, she will always, always be in the hearts and minds of Academy students, graduates, and staff as she never fails to make you feel like you can achieve anything. So, Ms. Dwyer, thank you for being one of my greatest supporters and never failing to make those around you laugh or smile.