Residential Life with Liva
by Liva Jostad-Laswell
Liva is one of three Residential Life Interns at High Mowing this year. Liva’s sister, Ariana, graduated from High Mowing in 2003, and their stepsister, Rachel Miller, graduated in 1993.
Most evenings find me sitting on the big leather sofa in the girls dorm common room, often with a fire crackling and a few students around me working on their homework. Some nights are quiet, and I can do my knitting, chat with a colleague, and correct papers for the seniors I am mentoring. As girls begin to return from the library, I can hear giggling upstairs and footsteps running through the hallways. A Saturday evening might bring a boy strolling into the common room, playing guitar and singing in Spanish, after an afternoon spent tie-dying T-shirts on the back porch of the dorm—foiled only in the end by a gentle rain storm rolling in over Frye Field.
There is never a dull moment in my work here. Not as far-removed from my teenage years as many of my colleagues, I have the opportunity to act as a quirky combination of parent and older sister to the boarding girls—something I have been enjoying immensely. My days are busy attending various meetings, fielding the many questions adolescents seem to have (everything from schoolwork to dorm rules to future planning), doing some work for the admissions office and holding a colleague’s baby to give her a break—all while doing my part to maintain a healthy and enjoyable academic and residential environment for the students. I also coach the girls soccer team, which allows me to get to know many of the day students and to interact with my boarding students in a different way. Coaching soccer is inspiring, particularly at High Mowing—the players give their best in each practice and game, and their sportsmanship and skills with a soccer ball make me proud.
I was drawn to High Mowing by a combination that seemed perfect to me: boarding school and Waldorf education—High Mowing is, in fact, the only Waldorf boarding high school in the US. I was teaching English in an Austrian public high school before I came to High Mowing, and I wanted to learn more about adolescent development and the Waldorf approach to secondary education, particularly in a residential setting. High Mowing offered the perfect opportunity for this in the form of a position working in residential life. I am thrilled to be here, and looking forward to the adventure this year will be.
Residential Life Reflections
Tuesday November, 19, 2013
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