As Caroline Park ’23 experiences her Lawrenceville journey coming to a close, she recounts all the special moments throughout her time on campus as a Lawrentian. Looking ahead to another adventure in college, Park knows she will once again at Cornell University find the “tiny communities” that were so valuable during her time at Lawrenceville.
Park entered the Class of 2022 as a professional figure skater who was “looking for something new” and a place where she felt free to “grow and supported along the way.”Although Park enjoyed her II Form year, she “wasn’t immersed in Lawrenceville” as much as she hoped, due to frequent doctor’s appointments as a result of several skating injuries. Park eventually took a medical leave from Lawrenceville and returned a year later, joining the Class of 2023 as a III Former.
“[II form year] was tough because we had such heavy Covid-19 restrictions.” Because of Covid-19 restrictions, boarders were prevented from visiting each other’s rooms, and day students were not allowed to enter Houses. Social distancing policies ensured that no two students or faculty would step within six feet of each other. Yet despite all of these obstacles, Park noted how “[her] House President, Delaney Musgrave ’22, did an amazing job at finding unconventional ways to foster a sense of community within our house.” Musgrave’s accomplishments inspired Park herself to run for House President of McClellan during her IV Form year. “It was definitely a lot to juggle,” Park admitted.
In addition to this new responsibility, Park's schedule now included more rigorous classes as she re-immersed herself in skating, which continued to cause her injuries, including several severe shoulder dislocations, and thus another year of surgeries.
However, Park recalls how “the people [around her]…really made [everything] possible.” With the support of her friends, teachers, and family, Park devoted herself to “completing a bunch of initiatives” as McClellan House President. She primarily focused on organizing bonding activities, such as cookie decorating and trivia games. “That whole emphasis that Lawrenceville places on the House System and community…[and] how we all work together to uplift each other and grow together- it's something that I'll always cherish,” Park explained.
With all the support Park has received throughout her time, she knew it was time for her to give back to the people around her during her V Form year. Park decided to undertake the role of Dawes Prefect, an experience that she said has been “really, really special.” She loves being a role model for the Class of 2026, and someone the II Formers can trust and look up to. “I personally know how important my prefects were to me,” Park explained, “[prefecting] is like being a built-in big sister.” As a prefect, Park has given II Formers in Dawes advice on almost every aspect of Lawrenceville: academics, friendships, homesickness, time management, and mental well-being. She listened. She inspired. She cared. For many students, Park was one of the first people they talked to. No matter what their concerns were, she would direct her full attention to what they had to say. She was someone to trust and someone who made every individual feel valued.
Although her time at Lawrenceville will soon come to a close, the legacy and imprint she has left on the girls in Dawes will not. As a prefect, a V Former, and a Lawrentian—Park hopes future classes will “flourish, succeed and keep growing,” while finding “moments where [students] are able to find joy with one another.”