Spotlight on New Dorm Heads


Sophie Conroy '19

Ms. Hamlin meets with her prefects.

Every spring, Groton students look forward to finding out the dorm arrangements for the coming year. Due to teachers either returning from sabbatical or leaving, many dorm buildings will acquire new leadership and accompanying names in the following school year.

For this school year, there were a number of dramatic shifts. Peter Fry returned this fall from his sabbatical and is heading an upper school boys dorm again in dean Mike O’Donnell’s old building, as he has stepped down from the position. Paula Marks also decided to move on from her time as a dorm head. Mark Machan’s upper school boys dorm subsequently moved over to her building, and Stephen Fernandez’s upper school boys dorm then shifted over to Mr. Machan’s previous building. Sr. Fernandez’s dorm has been transitioned to an upper school girls dorm, filling the spot left by Marks’ dorm, and Alison Hamlin is now running it. Finally, Jonathan Freeman-Coppadge’s departure from Groton gave way to Nathan Lamarre-Vincent, or Mr. L-V, running the second form boys dorm.

The appointment of the new dorm heads, Ms. Hamlin and Mr. L-V, spurred a wave of excitement and surprise in the spring when students saw their names on the dorm request form. These changes are sure to bring about a lively and positive impact on dorm dynamics at Groton.

Ms. Hamlin, when asked about her goals for the new dorm, said that she hopes it will be a safe space for all of its residents, fostering a strong, healthy living community. In respect to the relatively large group of seven prefects affiliated with the dorm, she is excited for a “strong, core group of senior leaders,” she said. Ms. Hamlin’s prefects reciprocate the enthusiasm. Prefect Evie Gomila ’19 acknowledged Ms. Hamlin’s eagerness of “making the dorm a comfortable and happy place.” Evie added that the supportive environment “will help the prefects to create a strong sense of community.”

Ms. Hamlin brings a wealth of dorm leadership experience to her new role, as she was a member of a large Phillips Andover dorm prior to her arrival at Groton and an affiliate of Petroskey’s dorm last year. She described the latter experience as a “great chance to get to know her Second Form students outside of the classroom,” but she is looking forward to the more laid back schedule that comes with an Upper School dorm.

After first looking around the dorm, Ms. Hamlin was able to envision it full of students, she said, mentioning that she is “looking forward to everyone coming back to campus and for the dorm to have life.” She is very enthusiastic about her new dorm and even has ideas for feeds already, saying how her “baklava” will become a “special treat” in the dorm. More than any other aspect of her new role, Ms. Hamlin especially looks forward to getting to know not just the students in her dorm, but more students at Groton through this upper school lens.

On the other side of campus, Mr. L-V said his primary concern in his dorm is similarly the health and safety of the boys. He hopes that the dorm will become a “home away from home” for everyone, a place where students feel “safe and comfortable being themselves,” he described. He has affiliated with Fernandez’s dorm for the past two years and has fond memories associated with it, which contributed to his decision to become a dorm head. He expects that running a dorm will require much more work than being an affiliate, but he is embracing that responsibility.

Julien Alam ’19, a prefect and peer-counselor in L-V’s dorm, has faith in his new dorm head. “He definitely knows how to create a fun environment,” Julien said, “yet he still has boundaries.” Mr. L-V has added as well that he wanted this position so that he could “get to know the second form better and hopefully give back to the Groton community.” He looks forward to getting to know the boys in his dorm and (hopefully) becoming a great dorm head!

Although these changes may take time to get familiar with at first, new dorm heads like Ms. Hamlin and Mr. L-V are sure to bring a sense of new excitement and vigor to their positions that will in turn make this coming year a fun one for all.