They came from Connecticut, New Jersey, and from places closer to Salisbury like Bessemer City and Winston-Salem with a shared mission: to move their students into their dorm rooms at Catawba College.
They carried mini-fridges, stuffed animals, under bed storage units, office chairs, clothes on hangers, pillows, packs of sport energy drinks and food. The students were laughing and smiling as they introduced their family members to their roommates. Some of the parents looked apprehensive, even a bit sad.
"I'm having parent's depression right now," explained Shelley Barber of Bessemer City who stood by a white pickup truck as her daughter, Haley Wiggins, carried belongings to her dorm room in Salisbury-Rowan Residence Hall. "I move her in today and I move my son in at Carolina on Saturday. I can't believe they're both leaving."
Haley showed no signs of depression as she stood smiling outside of her dorm room with her new roommate, Amanda Tuttle of Tobaccoville.
John Petronis of Northfield, N.J., stood beside his mom, Terri, outside of Woodson Residence Hall as his father parked the family RV. Some of his belongings, he explained, were in the truck of the vehicle, while the rest were loaded into the RV. John came to Catawba to play on the golf team and has plans to major in Music Business.
Karin Taylor of Barkhamstead, Conn., stood outside of the bookstore in the Cannon Student Center with son Jacob and husband John as daughter Sarah, an incoming freshman, waited in line down the hall to get keys to her dorm room and to have her photo taken for her student ID.
"Her aunt and uncle both attended Catawba and that's how Sarah heard about it," Karin explained, referring to alumni from the Class of 2000, Ruth Taylor Wareham and husband Bryan Wareham.
Laura Washing of Winston-Salem, an incoming freshman, carried some of her belongings up the sidewalk to her dorm room in Salisbury-Rowan Residence Hall. She smiled quietly as she noted that she was coming to Catawba to major in Athletic Training.
Resident Assistant Emily Olszewski of Erie, Pa., had the door to her room in Salisbury-Rowan wide open, ready to answer questions from students moving in and their parents. She noted that almost all of the students had refrigerators, and the girls, "their stuffed animals."
And what advice were the resident assistants prepared to share with the new students?
"Don't be afraid to meet new people and try new things," offered Woodson R.A. Ron Stewart, a sophomore from Charlottesville, Va.
"Have fun, but stay focused," added R.A. Richard Lugo, a sophomore from Virginia Beach, Va.
"Don't be afraid to use the services at the school, like the Writing Center, the Math Center and tutoring," said R.A. Brinsley Stewart of Boonville.
Most of the first-year students who moved in on Wednesday, August 14, planned to participate in a three-day Freshman Retreat before Orientation begins on Saturday, August 17.
Catawba's first day of classes for traditional day students is Wednesday, August 21.
College officials anticipate that this first-year class, members of the Class of 2017, will be the largest first-year class at Catawba in the past 12 years. Final enrollment numbers will not be available until after the last day to add a course on August 28.
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