Facebook pixel Celebrating Your Community’s College, Part One

Celebrating Your Community’s College, Part One

A special series presented by St. Louis Community College

For the past 60 years, St. Louis Community College has been an integral part of the place we call home. With 50% of all households in the St. Louis area having a student or alum who attended the College, there is no denying that STLCC has ties to virtually every family, business and organization in the region. 

April is Community College Month, and this year’s theme is “Celebrating Your Community’s College.” This month we will highlight those on our campuses who have made the College a central part of their lives and have truly become a part of the STLCC community. Read the first story below and check out the others here; a new story will publish each Thursday.

Working at STLCC-Meramec is a Family Affair for the Karls


Patrick Karl, who has worked for STLCC in the information technology department since 1999, was walking the Meramec campus one day and called to his daughter to get her attention. Or so he thought.

“I’m on the library quad yelling ‘Hey Taylor!’” he said. “Only some other girl turns around and it’s not Taylor.” 

It was an innocent mistake, and just one of many stories the Karl family has about working on the Meramec campus. After all, with five family members working on one campus—Patrick and his four children—it’s not surprising to see one another, and even less

Karl Family

 surprising that the stories would stack up over time. “We could be the STLCC family on a sitcom,” Patrick said. 

Meaghan Karl is the oldest of the four siblings and works right next to her sister Taylor Livers in the admissions office. Prior to that, the two worked next to each other in the cashier’s office. And before that, they each worked in the bookstore. The two youngest Karls also work on the Meramec campus, with Zach following in his older sisters’ footsteps by working in the bookstore, and Shelly working in the art department and center for visual technology. All five have either taken classes or earned degrees from STLCC, with Zach and Shelly both currently taking classes toward their degrees.

The entire family agrees that having each other nearby is important to them, and it’s just a part of their daily life — it’s their sense of normal. But it wasn’t by accident that this happened.

“My whole life growing up it was pretty much that dad worked at the college for us to go to college here. That was always the plan,” Shelly said.

Little did she know, however, that she was at the College long before enrolling as a student. 

“I took the two youngest to work and they were passed around as infants,” Patrick said. “We really are an STLCC family.” He added that it’s common for the family to discuss the College over dinner, and “everyone knows everyone’s business.”

With a dinner table full of STLCC employees, one might wonder how the mother and wife of these five employees feels about their unique situation. “I actually think it’s great that they all work for the same organization, and on the same campus,” said Cindy Karl. “If any of them are having a bad day, or not feeling well, etc., they almost always have someone there to lean on or talk to. I definitely appreciate that in so many ways.” 

“I wouldn’t change it,” Taylor said when asked what it means to her to work next to her sister everyday. “It was hard when there was a gap of time where I was in the cashier’s office full time before Meaghan came over.” She says when they’re having good days it’s “phenomenal,” but even bad days aren’t all that bad because “at the end of the day, you know someone’s there, and you have a connection with someone you wouldn’t have otherwise.”

Having someone there is something the whole family agreed on.

“I love the fact that I have my dad here at any given moment,” Shelly said. “If I need him, I can call him up or walk two buildings over and be in his office. And also, I take a class with my brother — I like our situation here a lot.”

There are pitfalls, of course. “I can’t skip a class,” Shelly said. “What if they catch me? And one time I took a nap during a break in class and Zach threatened to tell dad.” 

Although Zach disputes the details of that incident, it brought up another downside. “We all have different work hours, and we all want to carpool,” Zach said. “So that means shower scheduling and carpool scheduling. We recently started a calendar to organize it.” 

Fortunately, nobody has ever been left behind in the carpool, at least not totally left behind. “Well…one time I did get all the way to Gravois and had to turn around and come back to get someone. But I remembered and came back before they got off work,” Patrick said.

When asked what the College means to them, everyone agreed that there is an added sense of higher purpose. “You realize you’re shaping these young people as they go forward in their life,” Patrick said. 

“That was one of the things I enjoyed the most,” Meaghan said. “Letting students know about other parts of the College they might not have known about.” 

“That’s a perk that we have that others might not otherwise have,” Taylor said. “We have a connection that we can keep up with anything going on at the College because of our experiences.”

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