Posted by: Staff | 01.15.2010

College Essay XXI: by Tyler Starr ’10


And just like that Mr. K was gone. One day we were eating pizza together in his office, and the next day he vanished. Mr. K had been my advisor since freshman year, and a week before December break of my sophomore year the school suddenly asked him to leave. 

Mr. K was an imposing figure. I picture him standing in the front of the whole school wearing a blue striped shirt and hot pink pants, flashing a brilliant smile, and making an admissions announcement. He was an extremely poised and inspirational individual who had overcome many obstacles on his way to becoming an admissions officer at Beaver. I was one of the lucky eight to be a member of his advisory.

Mr. K was my biggest fan. He came to all of my soccer games and always checked in about my work and family. At the end of freshman year, my mother, Mr. K, and I met for an end of the year conference. After congratulating me on making high honors, he challenged me to maintain these high standards and to explore leadership opportunities. I had expected him to be proud of my accomplishments, but his focus was on the future. His words inspired me to strive for excellence in and out of school.

Mr. K. pushed me. For my chemistry project on Lipitor, I spent hours researching online, integrating that information into a PowerPoint presentation and spicing it up with 3-D animations. He encouraged me to run for class president and join the newspaper. His cheering at my soccer games gave me the courage to stand up to bigger opposing players.  Although I would have done many of these things without his prodding, knowing Mr. K was there for me gave me a new found confidence.

After Thanksgiving of my sophomore year, Mr. K missed two consecutive advisory meetings. When he was absent from a third meeting, my fellow advisees and I were told to go to the school counselor’s office. I expected her to say that someone had died or there had been another terrorist attack, but when she told us that Mr. K had been asked to leave for reasons that she could not explain, we were shocked.

Just like that, he was gone. 

There was no explanation for Mr. K’s dismissal. The uncertainty of the situation made it impossible to understand and hard to accept. As the rumors started to fly, I refused to let them taint my feelings about him, but I wanted an explanation that I could believe. It never came, and to this day, I am still in the dark.

The reality that the school had to dismiss Mr. K because of his actions changed the way I thought about adults. We thought we knew Mr. K, but maybe he had a “dark side.” As I continued to watch my teachers and coaches, I realized that they too are capable of making mistakes. After the disappearance of Mr. K, adults became more human to me.

As hard as it was to lose him, I am grateful for our friendship. Mr. K encouraged me to push myself, and I attribute much of my academic success as well as my passion for school to the support I received from him. He would be proud to know that I try to emulate his enthusiasm and warmth when I sit with freshmen at lunch and cheer on classmates at sporting events. I still miss him, yet I remain hopeful that we will reconnect someday.


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