A Day in the Dorms


Alex Miller

The dorms at Chaminade College Prep have always been a big part of our culture and our community.  Chaminade was originally a boarding school, and even after going to primarily day students, we still have one of the only dorms in the St. Louis area, with the only other school in St. Louis being Thomas Jefferson Academy.

People often seemed shocked when me or my friends tell people that we have dormers from a certain country. They always ask the same question: “where do they stay?”  We tell them that we have an on-campus dorm, but to be honest, that’s all we know.  It’s hard for us day students to imagine what a typical day is like for our classmates in the dorms; and when I’ve tried to ask, the dormers would often give me a very bland answer.  This makes sense actually.  For many dormers, it is simply routine to them, and so they answer my questions the same way I would answer my parents when they ask me, “How was your day?”

Thankfully, there are some faculty members who are happy to talk about the dorms, especially Mr. Marsek, who is also an ESL teacher and speaks Korean and Vietnamese.  Junior Bao Doan, a current dormer with two years of CCP experience under his belt, also answered some questions.  Together, these two gave me a better idea of what it’s like to live in the dorms.

Mr. Marsek who is a prefect and an ESL teacher at Chaminade, and he has been working with the dorm students for many years.  “Well, after school the students have a mandatory study hall 3:30-4:30 and another at 7:30-9:00, with free time in between that. That is what they mostly do after school unless they have practice or something else.”  During the weekends, Mr. Chrismer and Mr. Marsek organize off-campus activities, and the prefects (adults who live in the dorms with the students) will often drive them to movies, to the mall, to Chinese or Mexican restaurants, or to their friends’ houses.  Mr. Marsek also described how many students like to hangout around in the lounge room and will go to the gym and other activities as such.

“It is crazy to see how diverse the friend groups of the dormers are,” Mr. Marsek continued.  He makes a great point.  Sometimes, the diverse groups of dorm students are some of the tightest-knit groups on campus.  Mr. Marsek believes that the dormers have impacted the culture at Chaminade, to the point where if we see a student from a different country in the hall it is not a surprise.

For the leaders of the dorm program, it is not enough to simply have dorm students.  The ultimate goal is to help these students enjoy their time at Chaminade, and to make sure that they become a true part of the Chaminade family.

Bao Daon is a student at Chaminade and is from Vietnam.  “My time here at the dorms has just been OK.”  He describes how it is very routine and not always the best of situations.  He also describes how he likes his life better at home, but he does not dislike his life in the dorms.  As a Junior, he hasn’t really thought about his future after Chaminade. He doesn’t know how he will feel after he leaves Chaminade either he will be happy or sad.

Chaminade’s dormitories are a big part of our own school’s culture and community around the campus and the area.  The dorm students have become a part of the fabric of our school, and have joined nearly every club and team on campus.  They also participate in service and like to help around the campus itself. The dorms have always been a mystery to us, but all we had to was ask as they are just a little shy to open up.