By the time this year’s Underformers had arrived on campus, roughly 60 V Formers had already spent a weekend at the School preparing for their upcoming duties.Playing an imperative role in House life, Lawrenceville’s prefects have already overcome their initial challenges through their extensive training and are excited for the new year.
Prefect training began on Friday, August 26, five days before the last wave of student arrivals. After meeting with Assistant Dean of Students Douglas Davis, the prefects, along with members of the Student Council, were presented with common scenarios they might encounter and should know how to approach. Scenario training included what to do if someone felt excluded or homesick, as well as how to keep others safe by calling sanctuary. Additionally, House prefects worked hard to develop an environment they would like to foster. For example, they were introduced to a motto of “T.L.C.”—trust, love, and confidence—as one of their building blocks for the year. The motto emphasizes the importance of setting boundaries early on and preventing cliques while also recognizing the damage that COVID-19 might have had on creating in-person connections. Girls’ Lower Prefect Reese Abromavage ’23 explained how it was a bit stressful preparing for the gravity and importance of the job; however, thanks to her training and a “Prefect Training Manual” made by former Girls’ Lower prefects of Class ’22 Carina Beritela, Coco Sandoval, and Amelie Wickham, she feels ready for the year.
On top of their preparation, the prefects have already been diving right into their duties, planning for a fun year in their respective Houses. In the Dickinson House, prefect Kevin Chiang ’23 is excited to play House activities on the turf. In particular, he remembers playing capture-the-flag a few years ago, which was “competitive and a great bonding experience for everyone, including the prefects.” He looks forward to getting to know all of the students better and “forming a solid House culture where everyone is included and no one is left out.”
Across campus in the Crescent, Prefect Liza Webster ’23 in the Kirby House is excited “to create bonds with new girls and to continue to improve the mature and positive ways in which [she] responds to situations.” Kirby has many House bonding traditions, including its annual trip to the Ropes Course and to School Camp. She also plans to have food in her room so that “everyone can come in to chat and eat snacks.”
Abromavage, particularly enjoyed the newly created yet very successful “Bowl Cup,” a House Olympics mimic which all of the II Formers were excited to participate in. Not only did it “instill camaraderie in the [II Form],” but it created a friendliness that Abromavage hopes will continue throughout the year.
Despite all of the fun and excitement, prefecting has also come with its challenges. While Abromavage and her fellow prefects have enjoyed spending time with each other getting to know the II Form, she described how it has been hard finding a balance between her life and role as a prefect. Abromavage “wants to spend time getting to know the [II Form] girls, but [she] also wants to make sure [she] is doing well in classes and extracurriculars, along with finding time to be with friends.” Abromavage has been clearing up this common struggle by “making sure the [II Form] girls know the responsibilities of a prefect, in that [they] are there to help them but can’t be attentive 24/7.”
Webster has also struggled to balance college applications with prefect responsibilities but mentioned that being a prefect has been worth the struggle She enjoys connecting with the Kirby House by being there for people and maintaining the same House spirit that she remembers from last year. Similarly, while Chiang has not been able to attend school for a few days due to sickness, he has still been connecting with his Housemates from home.
The prefects have been able to provide helpful advice to their Underformer housemates thanks to their former experience at Lawrenceville. All prefects are looking forward to and are ready for the year ahead, and they hope to make it just as amazing for II, III, and IV Formers.