For the past two years I’ve been an assistant housemaster in a boys freshman dormitory. Despite the fact that it’s called “a house”, it is, functionally and aesthetically, a dormitory. A month ago I moved into one of the traditional dorms on campus, one which deserves the title, endearingly used in the English boarding school model: a house. Lawrenceville is on the house system, where students live in unique residences of 30-35 students with a housemaster apartment and an assistant housemaster apartment.
I, myself, went to Lawrenceville as a student in the 90s. One of the most memorable aspects of the experience was living in a house with 30 other boys. They became my de facto family. We learned to rely on each other for support in ways that I never imagined we could. Living in the house brings back some of the most heartwarming memories from my time as a high schooler.
Today all the boys finally arrived and moved into their rooms. Andrew and I (the housemaster team) spent the day greeting parents and helping boys register, and then tonight we had our first house meeting. Despite having been here for five years as a teacher, and two years as an assistant housemaster in Raymond House (where over 40 boys live), tonight was the first time I remember feeling that sense of family which comes with living in a house at Lawrenceville. It’s a special feeling, and one which I’m glad to experience again.
Afterward I found myself in a casual conversation in the stairwell of the house with two juniors. I remember having those same experiences as a student. There’s something about the unique architecture of these buildings which makes those moments stand out. It’s strange to think how, despite our lack of awareness for it, our experiences are so molded by the physical shape of our surroundings. Here at Lawrenceville, we not only enjoy the unique sense of place that emerges from the buildings, the layout, the landscaping, the architecture, the space; but we are also deeply moved by it, and at times we’re even assimilated into the Lawrenceville story through our relationship with the campus.