Tight-Knit Group of Girls Take Over Hathaway


joanna chattman

Credit: Williston Flickr

Despite social distancing, the girls at Hathaway have gotten closer than ever from the benefits of a small dorm.

There are eight occupants in Hathaway and they are all singles. The dorm is composed of mainly seniors with only one junior. They are accompanied by dorm parents Mr. Garvey, Ms. Muscari, Mrs. McDowell, Ms. Lee, and Ms. Gordon.

Due to Covid-19, the school honored the request of those who wanted a single. However, there were not enough rooms in Mem East and Emily McFadon Vincent, the girls’ dorms, to accommodate that request so the school decided to use Hathaway to house girls.

Hannah Cannizzo, a senior from Roanoke, Virginia, lives in Hathaway. Hannah has been a day student for three years at Williston. She decided to board when her family moved to Virginia and is already loving it. “It’s nice; I like having a single since I lived in my own house,” she said. “Having my own room here was an easier transition.”

She’s already bonded with her dormmates through weekend activities. “We definitely have connected,” she said. “We went to kickball and it brought us together by doing stuff together as a dorm.

Hannah continued, “It was a turning point, having a smaller dorm means being more connected to people and getting to know each other personally.”

One of her initial worries about living in Hathaway was having a male dorm parent, but her worries immediately disappeared after meeting Mr. Garvey. She said, “Mr. Garvey is very nice and definitely helped us with the rules and stuff. It was not exactly what I expected.”

Hannah described Hathaway as “pretty quiet” and “not having a lot of activities, ” but when she does have interactions with other dorm mates it’s “very lovely.”

Grace O’Keefe, a three year senior from Connecticut, also lives in Hathaway. She has previously lived in Mem East for two years so she was a little bit worried when she first heard that she was going to live in Hathaway.

“I had a mixed reaction when I heard I was living in Hathaway. I was incredibly happy about the girls that I would be living with, but the thought of the dorm itself kind of grossed me out a little bit,” she said. “Like I was afraid it would feel and smell like a boys dorm. Thankfully it does not.”

She was initially not quite used to the small dorm, “Hathaway is a lot smaller, especially because a few girls are not on campus, so it felt pretty weird at first,” Grace said.

However, she quickly came to love the dorm. She said, ” I honestly love Hathaway so much now. The dorm parents are all amazing and everyone is super relaxed like there isn’t any drama or cliques within the dorm.”

Grace has even embraced the traces of a boys’ dorm. “There are quite a few “remnants” left of a boys dorm. The common room where the laundry machines have pictures of hockey rinks on the walls and other sports-related art” she said.  “And in my room, there are a few things written on the underside of my closet shelf that you would definitely not find in a girls’ dorm.”

Her favorite part of being in a small dorm is the relationships she has built. She told the Willistonian, “I’ve become closer with all the other girls in it. Being around the same few people all the time, and all of the girls getting along really well has led Hathaway to genuinely feel like a little family. It’s a really supportive environment.”

Jenna Perry, a four year senior from Las Vegas, Nevada, agrees with Grace. “I’m happy that I stayed in Hathaway,” she said. “The personable atmosphere has allowed me to get to know everyone better, and we all get along very well.”

One benefit of living in a small dorm is the ability to gather together during Covid-19. Jenna said. t

“Whether it be a dorm meeting or just large conversations, we can all be together in the same space (always distanced and masked) comfortably,” she said.

Jenna did note one downside to Hathaway, however. “I hate spiders, but I have seen them everywhere,” she said. “Even though I accidentally made the whole dorm smell like mint (something spiders hate), and I haven’t seen them around as much,  I still am careful about entering my room and am always aware of my surroundings.”

Na Kyung Lee, a four year senior from Seoul, Korea, is a proctor at Hathaway. She says when they have dorm meetings at Hathaway, it feels more like a floor meeting compared to 194 and Mem East.

Although she had doubts about Hathaway’s distance from the rest of campus, Na is slowly adjusting to it. ” I think I am getting extra workout walking every morning from Hathaway to classes,” she jokingly said.

Mr. Garvey, Head Athletic Trainer, and Head of Hathaway, thinks that the dorm has been great so far. This is his second year as a dorm parent at Williston, and his first year as dorm head.

One of his concerns leading up to the year was working with girls. “My biggest concern was relatability and being able to build a level of comfort for the girls from day one,” he said.

He described that they “had a blast” at Willympics and the “vibe has been great.”

Mr. Garvey was motivated to make the best of the situation, “I explained to the girls from day one that Hathaway was a blank slate, and that we could put whatever stamp we wanted to on this dorm as it switches to all girls,” he said.

He continued, “They have taken that to heart and have truly run with it! We have a dorm full of leaders from all different parts of the school which is very helpful! We will see how we shape and mold the persona of Hathaway as the year goes on.”