As summer began to wane, everyone at San Domenico worked diligently to prepare for the new school year. Our new Director of Residential Life, Kali Baird (below), assumed her new role and led our Resident Faculty team through our policies and procedures designed to ensure the safety and well-being of our entire Boarding community.
Finally the day came when we could welcome our new students to campus! After not seeing many of our students in person since March, it was a wonderful reunion for Resident Faculty and our summer bordering students to see so many smiling faces returning to campus. With each arrival, we discussed our new health and safety measures, demonstrated how to use our new handwashing stations throughout campus, and showed them to their floors - placing each temporarily in their own rooms. Everyone was excited to see each other, and new students quickly bonded as we moved through our Boarding Orientation Week. As Coach and Resident Faculty Mike Fulton expressed, we truly have “an amazing group of young people that have great energy and enthusiasm.”
Throughout the week, students participated in various activities designed to help them to get to know each other and the school. Students played field games together, swam in the pool, learned about San Domenico and Boarding life, played ice breakers, watched Black Panther in Dominican Hall with popcorn, soda, and candy, played “Minute to Win It” games (below), played games in Mercedes, shot basketballs on the court, discussed chores, worked on roommate conflict resolution strategies and role playing, or caught up on summer reading in the Garden. Everyone was happy to see each other and to be in a community again as old friendships picked up where they left off, and new friendships formed quickly.
It cannot go unsaid that as important as building community is to all of us, we know that safety is our number one priority, especially during these challenging times. All of our activities include masks and distancing. We are all working hard to remind each other to stay 6 feet apart, wear masks any time we are outside of our rooms, leave windows and doors open and fans on for ventilation, to not share any equipment, and to wash hands often. It’s not easy when everyone would rather cozy up together on the couch, exchange a hug or high five, or play basketball or badminton together without following so many precautions. We know that everything we sacrifice now, however, will help to protect everyone’s well-being in the future. Athletic Director, teacher, coach and Resident Faculty Mark Churchill sums it up perfectly: “I love seeing so many students on campus and being able to socialize, with appropriate social distancing, with each other. They all seem so happy to be able to hang out and get to know each other.”
As we head into our first full week of school, we realize that while we cannot know what the future holds, we do know that all we have to do is look around at each other and the greater San Domenico community for the inspiration to thrive during any challenge that may lie ahead. We know that we will need to be as patient as our artists painting flowers in the Garden, as flexible as our students practicing yoga on the field, as resilient and energetic as our ping pong players, as strong as our weight room trainers, as high-reaching as our basketball players on the court, as focused as our piano players practicing in the Chapel, as innovative as our chefs in the Dining Hall, as caring as our Resident Faculty, as hard-working as our Maintenance crew, and as focused on protecting our community as our Campus Security team. Together we have everything we need and together we will adapt to each moment as it comes.
Welcome to San Domenico Boarding 2020-2021!
-Sonya Evans, Resident Faculty and Upper School English Teacher