Since its beginning in the fall of 2009, Thornton Academy’s boarding program has grown beyond anyone’s expectations. More than 1,000 students from 52 countries have lived in our dormitories, creating lifelong friendships that span the entire globe. One critical factor in the success of our program is the care and dedication of our residential life staff.
Currently, Thornton Academy operates five dormitories with twenty families serving as on-campus and off-campus residential life staff. These families provide support to our boarding students 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The majority of these families have been a part of our program for many years; the Paradis, Davies, Roche, Brewer, and Hefler families have all served as residential life families since 2009—more than a decade of taking care of our boarding students!
We sat down with Director of Residential Life, Catherine Paradis, and learned more about the success, challenges, and benefits of Thornton Academy’s residential life program:
KN: What makes the Thornton Academy residential life program special?
CP: We provide a home-like environment and build great relationships with kids. Our students and res life families form a great close-knit community on campus.
KN: What benefits has being a dorm parent brought to you and your family?
CP: Our own children have a built in network of friends, babysitters, and mentors that come from all over the world. They’ve been able to grow up in a safe neighborhood where there’s always someone to hang out with and learn from.
KN: How does the boarding program help to better the school in general?
CP: I’m thankful that Carl Stasio and the board had the foresight to look at starting the boarding program. All of our Thornton Academy students have access to a broader academic and extracurricular program than they would otherwise. Also, we hear so many great stories of kids making lifelong friendships with people from different backgrounds that they wouldn’t have otherwise gotten a chance to meet.
KN: Do these relationships continue after graduation?
CP: All of our res life staff members keep in close contact with many of our former students. I love the holidays—we get so many messages from former students. We hear so many great stories of students staying in touch, years after they have left TA’s campus.