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Girls Dorm Parents Reflect

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t’s Tuesday night. Girls dorm seems busy in study hours and everyone is doing homework in the rooms, but one thing we never forget to do. No matter how many homework we have these nights ..we will always come to Nasses apartment and have our usual turkish night. Our two girls from Turkey make coffee for us and one of them can tell future from our cups. Mrs. Nasse always cooks some snacks for us and her three daughters play games or watch movies with us. One of the moments when we feel like back home.

 Mrs.Paradis in her officeCatherine Paradis – Director of residential life and dorm parent from girls dorm.  

“I love it.  Like anything in life there are good and bad moments.  But the times when it is hard, frustrating and exhausting are ALWAYS overshadowed but the time that are fun, happy and moments when I am so proud of my “kids”. It is better than I ever thought it would be.  I love living in this community.  I enjoying meeting people and making connections with students and their families.  I love that students keep in touch.  I love that so many of our kids come back to TA during their break and vacation. I love my commute to work. Bedtime is my favorite part of duty!  Really – I like the impromptu moments of checking in with kids, hearing about their days and helping them with problems. The end of the school year is always hard because we hate to say goodbye. It is hard for the parents and your dorm brothers and sister to let go our students go,” said Catherine Paradis

Abigail Swardlick Gagnon – Dorm parent on Wednesdays in the girls dorm and administration of TA.

 “Mrs.Gagnon on duty in the girls dormIt is an incredible experience, working with students to introduce them to TA and then seeing them change and grow once they are here is the best feeling in the world. Boarding life at TA is unique and unlike dorm life I have seen in other schools. The care and support the students are given is second to none, and I know that all of us who work with the residential students feel a responsibility to make sure that all of our students are loved and cared for as if they were our family. One of my favorite parts is finally meeting a student that I have been corresponding with for months, and seeing how they adapt and grow so quickly once they make friends and settle in. The advantages are many- students become self sufficient, better prepared for dorm life in college, they understand how to deal with challenges, roommates, time management and personal upkeep. The only disadvantage is that they have to leave and it is heartbreaking! I love after dinner when we can just relax in the lounge and catch up on life and I like to hear what is happening in my students’ lives. I also love weekend duty when we can watch movies and relax and just “be”. I find I learn the most about my students when I am there to listen and help with problems. The families that live in the dorms as well as the off campus staff love what they do, and it shows. We are in a very fortunate position, and the shared respect and kindness among the students and the staff is one of a kind,” said Abigail Swardlick Gagnon.

Mrs.RocheLauren Roche – Teacher and dorm parent from the girls dorm.

“At the end of the year it’s hard to think about meeting new students because you don’t want to lose the ones that you have. At the beginning of the year it’s exciting to meet new kids and know that you have at least one year (hopefully more) to spend getting to know them, doing some fun things with them, and seeing them do some great things while they’re here. I love being able to know so many awesome kids and work with a great residential staff. We have a lot of fun, laugh a lot, and have made so many cool memories. It can be tough sometimes though. Now that we have young children with my husband, we sleep less and have less free time for those things. But in exchange, we have a lot of great experiences now that we didn’t before – I love strapping my kids carseats into a maroon bus and taking them down to Martel’s with the dorm kids, having students have meals with us in our home, and seeing my kids who are only three and one interact so comfortably with so many different people (adults and students). It’s sweet when students are here away from their siblings and they find some comfort in my own. There were two girls who were part of the initial group of students who lived in Nelson Hall. I see them a couple times a year. We skype. We seMrs. Roche in her office nd text messages regularly. We send gifts during holidays. They came to my wedding with the rest of the students that first year. A couple buses of 40 international kids dressed to the nines and walking into the church to experience a fairly traditional American wedding. Another thing that’s tough in my situation, and it’s not in every one’s, is that I don’t feel like I know as many of the students as I would like. When the program Wednesday's nights are sometimes crazy and funnystarted and we had forty kids, you knew everyone very well. Now we have about 150 international students so you can imagine that would be difficult to really know everyone. But you at least get familiar with everyone through trips, having meals together or dorm activities. We love living with people so closely. Sometimes you seek the peace and quiet, and most people are shocked that that’s possible for anyone living in the dorm. But kids are respectful of your life, too, and if your door’s closed, they get that. That’s not to say they don’t knock. And unless it’s really inconvenient, you’re generally saying, “come in” and having a nice visit with a neighbor. It’s a very close-knit community that I think can be very hard to have outside of the residential program. When my kids are awake and playing with the students, definitely a favorite time. Second is after my kids have gone to bed and I’ve checked in with the girls during study hours. After that I head to my apartment and leave my door open. Girls who need help with homework, have general questions about things that kids turn to their parents for, are hungry, or just need to talk come in… I love these times. As soon as I read these questions my eyes welled up. I thought I joined to help you, but it has been so mutual. I love you all for making my life richer,” said Lauren Roche.

Heidi Brewer – Teacher and dorm parent from the girls dorm.

“ It is  really amazing. Getting to learn about so many cultures; all the different traditions and ways of seeing the world. I love that we are a family. It is busy and sometimes overwhelming living with so many students, but I love all the small moments I get to be part of living here.  My life has been enriched in so many ways by living in the dorm. I think sometimes people who donMs.Brewer‘t live in the dorm don’t see that we consider you all “our” kids and that we are a family. I think one of the things are really cool is how the first time we have snow, kids who have never seen it before go out and play like little kids do. I thMs.Brewer is a teacher in middle schoolink this is true of all parents-sometimes it is hard to balance all the responsibilities I have-getting to events kids are participating in along with work and personal obligations. I love doing room check. I like being able to talk with each girl, see how their day was and see what is new. I would like to say I am extremely proud of all of them. I am amazed by the bravery you have to leave home and come here to study. It is such a leap for you to take at such a young age. I feel very lucky that I get to live here in the dorm and have this experience with them. Thank you for teaching me so much,” said Heidi Brewer.






One Comment

  1. Annabel Winterberg Annabel Winterberg May 17, 2016

    This is such an interesting and insightful article! It is really cool to learn more about TA’s international community.

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