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Snapshot: Kyle O'Connor

Occupation: I’m a recent graduate of the nursing program at the University of Pennsylvania, and will be a student at the Yale University School of Nursing, pursuing my master of science in nursing, a two-year program. Right now, I’m the head life guard and head swim coach at Rock Ridge, and I’m also hosting and busing tables at Sal e Pepe; and I’m doing yard work.

Family: I currently live with my mom, Donna, here in Newtown. I have a younger sister, Kelly, who is living in New York City and working as a fashion intern for Oprah Magazine. My older brother, Colin, lives in Brookfield and is a police officer in Redding. My Aunt Brenda and Uncle Jeff also live in Newtown, and they’ve been very instrumental in my life. My dad lives in Pinehurst, N.J.

Pets: We have a rescue dog, Spike. She’s like a boxer mix, and I guess she’s about 9 or 10 years old now.

How long have you lived in Newtown? We moved here from Stratford when I was a year and a half old, so basically, my entire life.

What do you like to do in your free time? I love to read, but right now I’m busy studying for the nursing boards. I love exercising and sports. I was treasurer and vice president of the Club Lacrosse team at UPenn. We made it to quarter finals this past year, and I’m really proud of how we built the team up. I enjoy drawing and art, and was a docent for a while at the Aldrich Museum in Ridgefield.

Do you have a favorite book? I read all kinds of books, so it’s hard to say. Right now, I’m reading A Dance With Dragons, the fifth book in The Game of Thrones series by George Martin. Some of my favorites include The Road by Cormac McCarthy, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe, Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, and Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond. It was a really good book about evolution and why some societies excelled, compared to others.

Do you  have a favorite travel destination? It’s funny, but every spring my frat has a luggage party raffle for 22 guys and 22 girls. You show up to the party with a packed suitcase and your passport. At midnight, they start picking names out of a hat to eliminate people. You can win an all-expenses paid trip to places like Cancun, Bermuda, the Bahamas — or maybe Cleveland, Ohio. You don’t know. I won, so this girl and I got a trip to Cancun, it was incredible, and a lot of fun, even traveling with someone I didn’t know. Other than that, my favorite is Martha’s Vineyard. Edgartown is beautiful.

What is the best thing about Newtown? The community. It’s the perfect  place to grow up. Talking with my friends at school, I could tell Newtown was somewhere special.

Who or what has been the greatest influence in your life? My mom. I don’t even need to think about that. And extend that umbrella to my aunt and uncle. I can attribute a lot of who I am today to what they have taught me. They’re always there for me. They taught me to see the best in people. I was really influenced by what happened 12/14 to go into psychiatric nursing. There’s a great need for mental health care and awareness.

Do you have a personal philosophy? Everything happens for a reason. When one door closes, another always opens. The mind can make a heaven of a hell, so push through and persevere.

Do you have a guilty pleasure? None, really. I like finding time to spend with friends and family, but that’s not guilty. I guess if I work hard now, I’ll have time to pick up some guilty pleasures later.

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