The eldest daughter in a family ready to begin her senior year, a recently crowned beauty queen, and a set of Internet-savvy twin brothers were among the Catawba College students who moved into residence halls on Saturday, August 19. The date marked the institution's official move-in day before the start of fall semester classes on Thursday, August 24.
Several dozen Alphas, upper class students who serve as helpers and guides for new students, were ready to assist where necessary. Clad in distinctive blue t-shirts, most navigated their way between vehicles and residence hall rooms, their arms loaded with the belongings of new arrivals.
First-year student, Michael Shearer of Durham, was accompanied by his parents, Ian and Sheila, as he moved into Woodson Hall. He described himself as "excited and nervous," while his parents, who were helping him unpack, just smiled. The Shearers had likely heard a similar lament from their eldest of three sons who is now a student at a college in Boston.
Bob Jones' eldest daughter, Sydney, was accompanied by her parents and two younger siblings from her home in Lancaster, Pa. Sydney decided on Catawba last fall when she came down for softball tryouts, her dad explained, adding that she chose the institution both because of its size and its Christian-based, family-like atmosphere. "She had about five colleges on her list, but Catawba just felt right to her," Jones said.
For Don Moore of Toano, Va., Saturday marked the last time that he would move his daughter Mandy into a residence hall at Catawba. She arrived with her belongings loaded in a trailer, ready to begin her senior year and complete her studies in environmental science.
"I left the Williamsburg, Virginia area about 2:30 a.m. on Friday morning and took my youngest daughter to Radford University, then headed on to Catawba to get Mandy moved in today," Moore explained. When asked if he was sad to see his daughters off, Moore gave a wily grin and shared his plans for next week: "I'm looking forward to camping on the Eastern Shore and fishing."
Seventeen-year-old beauty queen Amanda Sowards of Harrisburg was among first-year students settling into Woodson Hall. She plans to continue pageant competition even after she is a fulltime student, with an ultimate goal of competing for the Miss America title. Amanda, who was crowned 2006 Teen Miss North Carolina at a July competition in Hickory, flashed her signature winning smile when asked why she chose Catawba.
"I liked its good ranking for theatre, the campus, and I liked being close to home," she noted. This Central Cabarrus High School graduate plans to pursue degrees in musical theatre and communication arts, and said she decided to live on campus "to meet people and have the dorm life experience."
When asked how a beauty queen would fare in a residence hall, Amanda explained that she had arrived on campus with curling irons and everything else she would need to "maintain the look."
Amanda's mother, Lisa Sowards, nodded in agreement with her daughter, noting that she was not nervous about leaving her daughter behind — yet. "But it might hit me in two days," she joked.
Over the summer, Amanda had corresponded online with her roommate, Tiffany Sowers of Asheville, and said that correspondence helped them get to know each other before they arrived on campus.
Twin brothers from Salisbury, Timothy and Thomas Readling, were assisted by their parents, Vicki and Gary, as they moved in to a residence hall room in Woodson which they will share. The two have long been familiar with Catawba's football program since at age 15 they set up and maintained their own website about it, www.indianhuddle.com.
Although the Readlings intend to major in business administration, both plan to continue maintaining their website, which has now logged over three million hits. The two are also excited about the prospect of assisting with Catawba's athletic website through an upcoming work study assignment on campus.
Vicki Readling is relieved her sons are roommates and can continue their supportive relationship with each other. "They're best friends," she explained.
Close to 610 new and returning students will be housed in nine Catawba residence halls this fall and some will participate in one of five living-learning communities on campus. Only Abernethy Hall, slated for demolition in September and scheduled to be replaced in 2007 by five new residence halls, is off-line this year.
The traditional day program's total enrollment for the 2006-2007 academic year is expected to be approximately 900 students, 250 of whom are first-year students in the class of 2010. Official enrollment numbers will not be available until after the drop-add period is concluded.
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