By: Hazel Pina, Alumni Coordinator
November 2, 2018
We often talk about how Inwood Academy is not simply a place where we work or students go to school. We are a family, a community of members who care for and support our students beyond the doors of our classrooms. Since we are family, we had to ask ourselves what happens when our students graduate, when they no longer HAVE to be here? Do we sit back and hope they come to visit us, or do we reach out and help them through their new journey?
We decided the answer to those questions was, no. Here at Inwood Academy we are reaching out to our alumni and showing up at their campuses.
In October, I sent our alumnus special care packages and we had an amazing opportunity to visit SUNY Broome were six of our students are attending college. It was nice to see our former students giving us directions, telling us where to park on campus and where we should have lunch. They were just as happy to see us as we were to see them. At lunch, we sat at a long table listening to five of our alumni answer our endless stream of questions. They reflected on what were the most surprising and challenging aspects of college. For them, it was being independent and on their own. They see what it now means to be solely responsible for their belongings, themselves, assignments, and most importantly their laundry. “If I don’t get it done it’s on me. There is nothing I cannot take full responsibility for.” We also talked about college life in the dorms and outside of the dorms. Our alumnus talked about the people that they have met, and how glad they were that they decided to step outside of their comfort zones, to get away from the city and give themselves the opportunity to learn about a new place and different people.
Leaving the Broome campus that afternoon ended with a great sense of relief from the Inwood Academy staff who joined me on this trip. Although we were sad to leave them, it was great to see how they were speaking to students on campus and talking about classes that they enjoyed. As members of their extended family we wonder: are they are okay, how do they feel about their classes, and are they mentally and physically healthy? Leaving campus that day we had our questions answered—they’ve got this!