The SEM residential program drove headlong into a new year with excitement and new faces this September. Leading up a kick-off campfire party in the Magavern-Sutton Courtyard, a total of 17 new students and 18 returning students within eight different countries get on board to begin their residential life at SEM.
Starting as a brand new team, the 2018-2019 residential board is made up of four house directors (Christine Gillis, Gaby Bernecki, Pradeep Yerramsetty, and his wife Olga Glagovyak, Andy Sauers, and Rob Macfarlane) and three prefects (Shannon Shao, Aurora Wan, and Jocelyn Yang).
The prefect of Oishei House Shannon Shao ’19 expressed her belief in developing personal growth at the dorm life. “It’s a good opportunity for all of us to learn how to live in a community environment and to accept the responsibilities of group living,” said Shannon.
While study abroad’s rewards are immense, it can rattle the nerves of even the most easy-going parents who sent their 14-15-year-old daughters to a different language-spoken country. However, the parental fears cannot prevent their children from exploring all the incredible opportunities and advantages of a different cultural mindset.
Mr. Chen and Ms. Yuan, the parents of Lucy Chen’22, traveled from Wuhan, China to see their daughter off to a new country. The family felt a great warmth of welcoming during the new student move-in day. “A study abroad experience during high school is more than learning in the classroom. Sometimes the greatest life lessons are learned in the dorm life. I look forward to seeing her [Lucy’s] performance at her new stage of life, “said Ms. Yuan.
With a flurry of sports events and weekend activities, the residential students settled in their new home and fit fun in their busy days – going on a trip to see Niagara Falls, making pottery with the lead of English faculty Kanika Durland, and petting Milkshake while making milkshakes with English faculty Alison Wright.
Johanna Esters’ 21, a German exchange student, enjoys playing field hockey at Larkin Field after schools. “It’s nice to have a break from an academic communication and transit to an athletic communication to make my day fulfilling in an American school, and I can make friends from a sports team as well, ” said Johanna.
The harmonious dorm life along Bidwell Parkway is where multi-cultures meet and sisterhood chemistry starts, which impressed the fellow and new house director Christine Gillis. She was thrilled to help create a community where residential students feel at home.
“Each student has to have good soil in order to blossom and grow. The soil is where the flowers live or in this case the residential homes are where our students live. I want to make sure the soil (home) is good, so that way each student can truly thrive and reach their fullest potential,” said Christine.