“All about the students”: Lynn O’Grady Retires After 12 Years at Westridge
After 12 years as Westridge’s Director of College Counseling, Lynn O’Grady is retiring. Mrs. O’Grady plans to spend more time with her family and hopes to continue working in the educational field with young people. “I wouldn’t say that I’m retiring because this is just the next step as usual. I am still energized by my work,” she said. “And so I plan to continue doing some, hopefully some good, hard work yet left to be done. It’s just a different pasture. Maybe not greener, but different.”
Mrs. O’Grady, who has worked with countless students, is recognized especially for her kindness, enthusiasm, and positivity. Ms. Bonnie Singh, a former student of Mrs. O’Grady’s and the current Administrative Assistant to College Counseling, said that as a student, “The best part about working with Mrs. O’Grady is that she sees the whole person. You’re not just numbers on paper; you’re a whole person. She wants to get to know you, the real you, the authentic you, and make sure that where you end up going will be a match for you entirely. What matters to Mrs. O’Grady is that you are happy and successful where you end up.”
“And I think that’s what was so wonderful about working with her is that I truly felt seen,” Singh continued.
Ms. Singh also reflected on the impact that Mrs. O’Grady has had on her and on other students alike and how much her presence will be missed at Westridge. “I mean, I’m going to miss just about everything about her and about working with her, but she is a lifelong educator, a lifelong advocate, a lifelong learner herself. She supports all of our growth and our well-being and makes sure that we are putting our best foot forward just like she is. And I could say so, so much more, but I will get emotional, so I’ll leave it at that,” said Singh.
Mrs. O’Grady also reflected on the influence students had on her. She expressed that although she was the counselor and teacher, students also taught her a lot about life. “Students have taught me that a mistake doesn’t define you and that you don’t have to let that be the end of the story,” she said. “We all make mistakes, but what you’ve learned from that mistake is what is most prevalent and most important.”
“It’s not just about applying to college, it’s about applying yourself in life. I feel like I learned something about how to live life every day through the Westridge students,” she continued.
Both colleagues and students noted Mrs. O’Grady’s care and true dedication to her students.
Morgan H. ’23 said, “When I first met her, I was really taken aback by her enthusiasm about the college process. I know for a lot of juniors it’s really scary to move on to a new destination and to take on this new role. It feels like there’s a lot of pressure. Mrs. O’Grady was always there to reassure us in class and show the class how the college process is a process of discovery and how everyone works at their own pace.”
“One of the best things about Mrs. O’Grady is the enthusiasm and positivity she brings to every class and meeting,” Morgan continued.
“She’s always putting her best foot forward. There’s never a bad day. Never, I mean it. Mrs. O’Grady shows up 100% of the time, and it’s always about the students,” agreed Ms. Singh.
The first sentence that Mrs. O’ Grady said during our interview was, “The best part about working at Westridge is the students.” She continued, “It’s all about the students. They are unbelievable.”
As if to illustrate the point, when our conversation came to a close, Mrs. O’ Grady didn’t finish off with something about herself but rather proceeded to give me advice about a summer program I’m attending. From my own experience, I can attest that from her first to her final words with me, even as she departs Westridge, she really has made it “all about the students.”