It’s spring break of my first year at Hamilton, when I had expected to be home in British Columbia. Instead, I’m having dinner at Dick Tantillo’s home on campus — and it feels like I’m with family.
Dick is a VP here at the College, and he, his wife and son are joking with me and treating me like one of their own. And I’m fully realizing how much support for students there is at Hamilton and within our community.
Until now, I had had a pretty smooth transition to college, and the hockey team quickly became my second family, but as this break approached I realized my savings were diminished and returning home was not a viable option. My teammates and close friends began to offer invitations on trips or asked me to spend the break with their families. But I planned to stay on campus; I hoped that I could use the break as a time to earn some money to pay for the trip home in May. And I’m now doing that: I have a full-time job for the whole two weeks because my coach, Rob Haberbusch, reached out to the athletics department about opportunities for student workers. Dennis Murphy, long-time equipment manager, was among the first to offer support to me for these two weeks, as he has done for many others. And I’m spending evenings with my host family in Clinton and having home-cooked meals with faculty and administrators, like tonight, and like students here often do. This amazing campus community jumps into action for its students and wants everyone to feel at home. That’s happening for me, and I will feel forever grateful. And I’m happy to carry on the tradition.