Move-in day came early for some Catawba College first-year students. Eighty of the institution's first-year students arrived on campus Wednesday morning to move their belongings into their residence halls before departing to participate in a first-year retreat at Johns River Camp in Collettsville, N.C.
James Adams III of Eden, who plans to major in theatre arts, was one of those first-year students. Assisted by his parents, his sister and his grandfather, James carried armloads of his belongings from his bright yellow Pontiac Sunfire and other family vehicles into his room in Salisbury-Rowan Residence Hall.
"He's very apprehensive about starting college, but he won't admit it," James' father, James Adams Jr., explained.
"I've got a daughter on the tennis team at home so I thought she'd keep me busy, but I know I'm going to miss my son so very much," said Melissa Adams, James' mother. "Thank goodness he's less than two hours away."
James' send-off to college was much more than a family affair, his 14-year-old sister, Emily, noted. His church gave him a going-away party, complete with presents, and his family and friends feted him with a "last supper" on his final night at home.
Grandmother Betty Goss sat quietly on a ledge outside of Salisbury-Rowan Residence Hall waiting with several pieces of luggage for her grandson, first-year student Jeffrey Moss, to park his car and return. Her wait was short-lived as Jeffrey and other family members from his home in Richmond County soon arrived to collect Goss and the luggage.
In another area of Salisbury-Rowan Residence Hall, where both male and female first-year students will be housed by section this year, Christopher Lunetta of Middleboro, Mass., finally came face-to-face with his roommate, Joe Kelly of Tampa, Fla. The two had corresponded by e-mail during the summer, but had never met.
"One of the nice things about them going away to college is that they go away," teased Matthew Kennedy of Atlanta, Ga., father of first-year student Shannon Kennedy. Shannon will also live in a section of Salisbury-Rowan this year.
Catawba's theatre arts program also drew Shannon to campus. "I started looking at where the seniors who graduated from my high school last year had gone to school and one of my friends came here for theatre. That made me investigate Catawba."
First-year student Kathleen "Kasia" Zielinski of Erie, Pa., made the 10-hour trip to Salisbury with her parents, John and Ewa Zielinski. She was recruited to play tennis for Catawba and will share a room with another tennis player from Brazil. Senior tennis player Kathleen "K.T." Rebadow of Melbourne, Fla., and Catawba Tennis Coach Jeff Childress were on-hand to greet Kasia and her parents during the move-in.
"It's time for me to go to college. I'm ready," Kasia said.
Kasia's mother, Ewa, who served as her daughter's tennis coach during her senior year of high school and took her to the state playoffs, admitted she was not quite as ready or prepared for her daughter to begin college. "I'm going to miss her. I'm so used to having her around and doing things for her," Ewa explained.
While Kasia participates in the first-year retreat, her parents will explore the Asheville area of the state before returning to campus on Saturday to take part in a parents' orientation session. Tennis practice for Kasia and her teammates begins Sept. 10 with their first match slated for Sept. 19.
First-year student Bianca Stokes of Landis made her move into Woodson Residence Hall with the help of her aunt, grandmother, mother and brother. She plans to major in pre-medicine and minor in music with an ultimate goal of becoming a physical therapist like her aunt, Grace Holtzclaw.
"When my aunt tried to get me to look at Catawba, I told her I didn't want to go there because it was really small," Bianca said. "After visiting campus, I realized that there's a lot of stuff hidden behind what you see from Innes Street. I really like the atmosphere and the fact that everyone made me feel so welcomed. It made me feel like I was at home."
College administrators are hopeful that first year students who participate in the retreat, one of two sponsored this summer by Catawba's Lilly Center for Vocation and Values, will also feel more at home on campus. The retreat will afford members of the Class of 2011 to get to know one another and some faculty members before the official start of classes on Aug. 23. Upper class students, who are members of the Retreat Leadership Corps, will be on hand at Johns River Camp to coordinate activities and to answer questions posed by first-year students.
Woodson and Salisbury-Rowan residence halls are where all first-year students are being housed this academic year, while upper class students will live in Catawba's 11 other residence halls. New to the housing equation this year are the five new residence halls which comprise Abernethy Village. Collectively, they provide 125 beds for upper class students.
The remainder of the first-year students not participating in the Lilly Center Retreat will move in on Saturday, Aug. 18 and begin an orientation process that will continue through Wednesday, Aug. 22. The first day of classes for students enrolled in Catawba's traditional day program will be Thursday, Aug. 23.