A farewell to College Counselor Ms. Randle

Mike Flanagan

We sat down with one of Malvern’s best to hear some closing thoughts.

It’s been quite an eventful run at Malvern for Ms. Lauren Randle in her role as Associate Director of College Counseling.

“It’s been a whirlwind…probably the fastest year and a half of my life,” she said.

Randle’s transition to Malvern was no small task. Coming from a large international school in Hong Kong to a private school in the suburbs was a major change in environment.

“I love a challenge, and there is no doubt about it [that] working at an all-boys Catholic school was a challenge for me,” Randle said. “I believe I learn and grow as a college counselor, as an educator, by working with diverse populations, and for me, this was a diverse experience.”

She would be faced with a massive challenge only a few months into her job.

Last March, a student posted comments to a ‘Class of 2015’ Facebook page about Ms. Randle, referencing rape. Four other seniors proceeded to join in with related comments.

“It was a really tough situation. It was tough for me personally, but it was a lot tougher for the school, the community, and the students,” Randle said. “That was my very first concern, not about me personally.”

Randle could have chosen to shy away from the issue, but she elected to address it head on.

“I did have a personal role in this. I did see that I had an opportunity. And what I felt was an obligation to address the students directly.”

Ms. Randle addressed the Malvern community in a chapel service following the incident. During her speech, she made several key points.

She reminded the campus of the importance of respecting all people, as well as defending those being attacked. According to Randle, no one condemned those Facebook comments, and that failure to denounce those hateful words was a problem.

Ms. Randle also emphasized the importance of the adult figures here at Malvern. “There are some amazingly strong women, and men, on this campus that can present big issues,” she said. “I wanted to make sure that was heard and felt.”

Ms. Randle was faced with an unfortunate situation. But her takeaway from Malvern is not focused on that negative moment.

“I don’t think that it was representative of who Malvern is. The love and support I received after, from students, faculty, friends, family, parents–it was overwhelming,” Randle said. “What I took from it was that there is far more love than [there is] any kind of hate or ignorance.”

Ms. Randle’s next position will not be at a high school. “I’m really sad about that, because I love working at a school,” she said. “I love the enthusiasm and energy. There’s just so much going on at a school. That’s going to be the thing I miss the most,” she said.

Instead, her job will involve working with a private company called Bright Horizons. This company in turn will work with other companies to provide college counseling for employees’ children as a benefit.

“College counseling doesn’t exist everywhere,” Randle said. Her new company fills that gap. Instead of working with students from the same institution, Ms. Randle will now be responsible with a range of students from different schools.

Before parting ways with the Malvern community, Ms. Randle offered a few words of advice.

“Everything works out in the end. It always does,” she said. “You will get into college. Everyone’s fear is that they won’t get into the right college, or they won’t get into the college their parents want them to.”

“My biggest piece of advice is to own it. Take ownership,” she said. “This is the first major adult decision you’ll make in your life. If you don’t feel like you decided, that you own it, that you’re going to where you will be happiest, how successful can you really be?”

“Be bold, be confident, and do what’s right for you.”