Parent Visiting Day Alumni Panel: Experiences, Perspectives, and Insights

Parent Visiting Day Alumni Panel: Experiences, Perspectives, and Insights
Mary McNulty

Remember attending Parent/Special Visiting Day? Alumni, parents, grandparents, and friends likely think of those days with fondness. Over the years parents and family members have consistently conveyed the joy in seeing their Carroll child engaged, challenged, confident, and happy. There is nothing more powerful than being immersed in your child’s Carroll experience and getting a front seat glimpse into how our teachers give each child what they most need. Equally important is the sense of belonging students display in the enthusiasm and pride in which they lead their guests around school introducing them to teachers and friends, showing their favorite spots on campus, and sharing their work that is displayed in classrooms and across campus. Visitors typically leave the day with a sense of relief and hope.

As wonderful as it is to see their Carroll child thriving, parents still think about what’s next. What happens after Carroll? Aside from Carroll’s incredible Secondary School Advising Team, who better to offer insight into that question than Carroll alums! Immediately following this year’s Parent Visiting Days, Carroll hosted Alumni Panels for parents, faculty, and staff.

As Carroll grows older, our alumni family grows larger. Currently our alumni number 3,500 strong; and this spring 77 graduating Middle School 8th graders and 26 graduating Upper School 9th graders will join this ever growing group. Our alumni's post-Carroll journeys have taken diverse paths, and they are always eager to give back by sharing their experiences.

The Alumni Panel following Lower School Visiting Day included David Bamforth ’11, Sam Brody ’96, Kathleen Delsener ’02, Roy Dow ’99, Michael Murphy ’09, Sonya Raab ’09 and David Zampese ’85. For the Panel following Middle/Upper School Visiting Day, David B., Roy, and David Z. joined us again along with Sophia Gadsden ’14, Trevor McLean ’14, Greg O’Brien ’99, Bryan Perla ’14, and Trevor Yandow ’13. Follow this link to view the Alumni Bios.

Moderated by Division Heads Allison West, Sue Kingman and Kate Collins, the alumni reflected on their time at Carroll, shared insight on the ways Carroll has and continues to impact their lives as students (high school, college, post grad) and in their careers, imparted how they have leveraged their dyslexic advantage to be an asset at all stages of their post-Carroll lives, and much more. It was truly touching to see how all of these alums can share stories from their time at Carroll with such detail and clarity that it felt like it happened yesterday, and then offer insightful perspective. In addition, throughout the discussion the Panel clearly articulated that the bonds—to friends, to fellow alums, to teachers and staff, and to the school—are strong and enduring.

When asked to describe Carroll in just a word or phrase, here’s what they shared: an accelerant, flexible, fun, supportive, family, life-changing, rewarding, helpful, transformative, accepting, life-saving.

The Alumni Panels were a fitting finale to Parent Visiting Days. One parent shared this heartfelt feedback:

"We thoroughly enjoyed Parent Visiting Day—watching our son in his classes, interacting with his teachers and classmates, as well as spending time with Carroll parents and faculty. I was especially touched by the alumni panel. I came to it hoping to learn about the different schools and trajectories that Carroll alumni follow. I was not expecting to have this group of adults and their stories impress me in such a way that would change the way I see my dyslexic sons, and what the future holds for them.

Through the years I have learned about dyslexia and what kids with learning disabilities experience, and it was illuminating to hear from adults who have become confident, happy and productive members of society. When you have a child with a learning disability you always wonder and worry about whether or not you are giving them what they need and if they will be okay in the long run.

I came home hopeful and reassured that my sons are in the right place that will not only teach them the skills to succeed in high school and beyond, but also help them come to terms with their struggles and more importantly find their strengths. The alumni were very inspiring!"

Teachers and staff also had the opportunity to hear from alumni. It was an incredibly powerful experience for educators to see how the work they do everyday is, as the alums attested, life changing.

The alumni who sat on the panel also commented on what a rewarding experience it was to share their experiences that can help and inspire students, parents, educators, and fellow alums. Are you interested in joining an Alumni Panel? We would love to have you! Please fill out this brief form to let us know.

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