While “dormitory” may come from the Latin “dormire”—to sleep—sleeping may be the least significant thing that happens there. The dorms at Cate are a place to unwind, study, talk to friends, listen to music, play games, and find time to be alone. Fellow students become friends, teammates, and counselors. The dorms are also home to Cate faculty and their families, and the bonds between students and teachers are built as much there as they are in the classrooms and on the playing fields. Sharing a meal, watching a movie, playing with a faculty member’s toddler—many favorite moments take place in the warmth and comfort of a dorm parent’s home.
Senior prefects also play a pivotal role in the life of the dorm. Selected for their positions by the faculty, prefects serve as leaders, liaisons and role models in their dorms. As one prefect put it, “We set the tone for the year and help make sure everyone’s needs are being met.” Residents can depend on their prefects for advice and friendship, and the prefects learn invaluable lessons about leadership, compassion, and responsibility.
Rooms and dorms are definitely the students’ space. The surfboard on one student’s balcony rests next to the Cantonese “No Parking” sign from his neighbor’s native Hong Kong. A hammock here, a lava lamp there… a typical hallway will have walls with Matisse prints, family pictures, rock bands, sports heroes, original artwork and favorite quotations, as each student expresses his or her individual tastes.
Dorms are the place where lifelong connections are forged. Students come together from a variety of backgrounds to make friends, share their talents and interests, and live like a family. Friendships built there continue long after graduation.