Long-term Substitute in Counseling Office


Busy handling Ms. Murray’s caseload, Hannah Webb counseling secretary.

Hannah Webb, school counselor intern has taken over as a full-time counselor during Kiely Murray’s absence. This busy time of the year will be a challenge for the long-term substitute.

“It probably makes [the students] nervous,” Webb said.

Murray took a medical leave beginning on October 18 that is predicted to last throughout the end of November. In this time, many seniors are busy submitting applications and relying on counselors to help with much of that process. Many seniors are submitting applications early action or rolling admissions.

Seniors applying early action have deadlines well before that of regular decisions. Most early deadlines are around October 15 to November 1. This means that each counselor with students applying early action needs the students’ transcripts and recommendation letters sent to the college by said deadline.

With Murray being on leave, many seniors are wondering who is submitting their information and if it will be in on time. And the answer is, yes, Murray is “doing a lot of the school stuff such as the transcripts and the recommendation letters and making sure that those go to the schools from her end,” Webb said.

Webb feels that there is “a comfort in knowing there’s someone here physically but then also knowing that Miss Murray is doing some background work when she can as well” to ensure everything goes smoothly.

Photo of Justin Normandeau in the hallway
One of Murray’s students, Justin Normandeau, hard at work on finishing his applications

“I haven’t met with Mrs. Webb yet, but I’m sure that if I had any questions I know that I could go to her or any other counselors,” Murray’s student Justin Normandeau said. Even though some concerns may arise, students still have plenty of resources in Murray’s absence.

Many students also have the comfort in knowing that “as much as we told her to relax and take care of herself, Miss Murray has been checking her email” Webb said. So if any students feel more comfortable reaching out to Murray directly, they may do so.

There is also help in all other departments of the counseling office. “I’ll definitely work very closely with Miss Webb and Miss Murray… and I’ll be keeping an extra look out on all Miss Murray’s students and making sure everything gets in on time,” Connie O’Loughlin counseling secretary said.

“[What] I have learned from my experience so far being in this position is that a lot of our students are ahead of the game, so as much as they are worried, [their applications] are in a pretty good place,” Webb said.

“So I’m not like an official school counselor but I kind of got thrown into the role and it’s been a pretty good experience so far,” Webb said. Although she is not fully on her own, as Cheryl Elder is still her supervisor. “I’ve also had a lot of help from the other counselors here as far as different questions that come my way if I’m not sure of the answer,” Webb adds.

In December, Murray should be back from medical leave, and Webb will no longer be a fill in. However, she will still be interning in the school until the end of the year.

Photo of Connie Oloughlin at her desk
Open to help students and other counselors, Connie O’loughlin, counseling secretary.
Photo by Ivy Missaggia

Webb is in her last year of her master’s program for school counseling. “I don’t have my license yet, but Hopkinton has given me this great opportunity to get my foot in the door right away,” Webb said. In an internship program at Fitchburg State, Webb has signed up to finish her year at Hopkinton.

“[Once Miss Murray returns] I would probably stick with Miss Elder and her caseload but if there are a few kids who build a rapport or prefer to come to me, I’d be open to balancing students from Miss Murray’s caseload and Miss Elders caseload and being there for whoever needs me,” Webb said.

Even though Webb’s time at Hopkinton has been short so far, many students have found comfort in her guidance.