The Kinnan House, small and sometimes overlooked, is filled every year with a completely new group of boys. With gray stones and white columns, this V Form house sits tucked away at the edge of campus; just like every other house, Kinnan has a unique spirit that shapes the “Lawrenceville experience” for its residents.
Eric Vivinetto ’23, a member of the Kinnan House, described the house as “bold, fun, and free.” Every Spring, rising V Form boys are given a choice: do they go to Upper with the majority of their class or do they opt to join Kinnan? Prospective members make this decision by filling out a Housing card, where they select whether they would like to join Upper, Kinnan, or to give no preference. “If we’re lucky, enough will choose Kinnan to fill our house,” says Dave Wilcox P’20, the Head of House of Kinnan, when describing the Housing card situation. Vivinetto chose Kinnan so that he could bond with his friends more closely, as he “liked the group of guys and wanted to spend [his] year with them.” Due to the way the Housing cards work, the people who are placed into Kinnan usually come from one friend group, as there is only enough space for 10 boys. Members of one friend group collectively decide to put Kinnan as their choice and all stay together, allowing them to continue to cultivate their connection throughout their V Form year.
One of the things that sets Kinnan apart from the other houses is its small size. With just 10 boys this year, it is by far the smallest house on campus. Because of its size, the V Formers get a chance to develop especially tight bonds. “The small group in the house makes it possible to get close with all of the guys and have nine other best friends… you really get the chance to know everyone,” Vivinetto explained. The small size also allows for intimate activities that might not otherwise be possible. For one, Vivinetto recalled “watching movies as a house in the common room.”
The closeness of the group allows the residents of Kinnan to cultivate a strong relationship based on trust. “Everyone has each other’s backs because we are such a tight-knit group…Kinnan is a house about trust—what happens in this house stays in this house.”
Despite the tight-knit community, having such a small house comes with its own flaws. For one, there is only one way to enter and exit the house, so Vivinetto recommends they add another door. Additionally, Kinnan doesn’t have a house kitchen and its farther placement on campus results in many long walks for residents. “Our common room is tiny,” Wilcox mentioned, “we are on the periphery of campus, it's a very small house, and Kinnan is not usually in the spotlight.” Even with these minor flaws, Wilcox says “there is nothing that [he] would change about Kinnan House.”
Every house has its traditions, which help improve House spirit and bonding with housemates. For years, Kinnan’s most treasured tradition has been the weekly grill. Wilcox says, “Each year one of the guys in Kinnan takes the lead [with grilling], and this year it is Hale Brown ’23.” The House gathers to enjoy the burgers, hotdogs, and occasional steaks that Brown grills. “It gets everyone together and is a great time,” Vivinetto adds.
Wilcox said, “When considering the possibility of becoming Head of House, Kinnan was my top choice. I would like to think that most of the V Form boys who have lived here will look back on the House as one of their best memories at Lawrenceville.” As Kinnan will undergo renovation for the upcoming school year, Haskell House will serve as the temporary replacement for the house. While the memories will be made in a different building, the experience will be just as special. For the current IV Form boys, rather than going to Upper, consider a different senior year experience, one characterized by especially tight bonds and weekly grilling: the Kinnan experience.