Category: Student Life

Extended Orientation Program

Our Extended Orientation Program (EOP) introduces international students to life at MacDuffie several weeks before the start of classes. This year, students had a chance to get settled on campus and explore the region through excursions such as Tanglewood, Hammonasset Beach, bowling at Spare Time in Northampton, spending the day at Six Flags New England, and much more. Also, we have a group of returning students from Indonesia who took part in the programming by helping their new schoolmates get acquainted with campus life and the MacDuffie community.

Welcome to MacDuffie!


RA Training

We welcomed a new group of Residential Assistants (RAs) to campus with a week-long training program alongside returning RAs. In addition to team-building activities and a role-playing duty workshop (e.g., what action to take if a student is doing X), RAs engaged in First Aid and CPR training, bus training, IT training, to name a few. The RAs capped off the week with a dinner at the home of Mrs. Lyman, Dean of Boarding Life.

Homestay Stories: The Tomkiel Family

Lucia, Yvette, and Prisheila posing with Santa.
Lucia, Yvette, and Prisheila posing with Santa.

Home(stay) for the Holidays, by Carol Tomkiel

Holidays are a time for celebration and fun with family and friends and rest and relaxation away from the demands of school and work.  

Homestay Holidays can be this and much more.

Sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner: from right to left, Ms. Tomkiel (English teacher and homestay parent), Lucia, Yvette, and Prisheila (students from Indonesia), and Laura (Ms. T.'s niece).
Sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner: from right to left, Ms. Tomkiel (English teacher and homestay parent), Lucia, Yvette, and Prisheila (students from Indonesia), and Laura (Ms. T.’s niece).

This past Thanksgiving and Winter breaks, my family and I welcomed three international students from Indonesia:  Lucia Deda, Prisheila Pandor, and Yvette Papare.  They added life and love to our home with an array of:  

Black Friday bargain shopping…with the occasional stop for lattes…

brunches in pj’s…over omelettes, toast, and juice…

fried rice and pizza take-out….China Haus was our local favorite…

ice-cream and cocoa snacks…which meant several cans of Reddi-wip…

snowball fights…amid a din of screeches and laughter that sent the cats running…

miniature snowmen…complete with acorn eyes, noses, and mouths…

cookie baking…including reindeer cookies with red jam noses…

Christmas caroling in the car…”The Little Drummer Boy” was our favorite…

stockings filled with treats and followed by candlelit service at midnight…

Rudolph and Elf on video…the word“abominable” was new…and cool…

Star Wars and Alvin and the Chipmunks at the theater…popcorn…too..

and much, much more.

Mostly, Lucia, Prisheila, and Yvette brought smiles, goodwill, and generosity that I will remember long beyond their stay.

Prisheila says hello to her first off-campus local.
Prisheila says hello to her first off-campus local.

5th Annual Run for Hope

This year marks the fifth year for MacDuffie’s annual Run for Hope charity 5k. The community has chosen No Kid Hungry as this year’s charity recipient.

no kid hungry

Registration is now open for the event:

The planning committee is currently reviewing submissions for this year’s logo. We’ll share the winner soon!

Book Club

The MacDuffie Book Club has selected its next book:

The Sword of Summer By Rick Riordan
“Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers. One day, he’s tracked down by an uncle he barely knows—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. Uncle Randolph tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god”-
This is sure to be a fantastic read! Book Club will meet again on Monday, November 23rd after extra help to discuss this novel and choose our next book.
Please feel free to email any and all recommendations to Ms. Gau at