You could feel the excitement in the air last Friday, Aug. 30, as 114 boarding students gathered in the dining hall and sought to locate their host families. Students looked around with anticipation — some for the familiar faces of the families they already knew, others for the yet unknown Spartan families they would soon meet.
Within minutes, the students were greeted with warm hugs and special treats from fellow Spartans and their parents, who will provide a familial connection for these international and domestic boarders throughout the academic year. Some families will send them a birthday card, bring them Halloween candy, attend an athletic competition or school play the student is in, or take them off campus for a special family outing. Others will give the students a little taste of home for a weekend, providing a nice break from dorm life.
St. Stephen’s initiated its Host Family Program more than two decades ago. It is organized by the school’s International Program staff under the leadership of Sarah Todd, director of the program.
“Host families really provide that personal touch that students miss,” explained Todd. “For some of our students, their connection with the host family is one of the most important relationships they have during their time at St. Stephen’s.”
If you would like to learn more about the school’s Host Family Program, please contact the International Program office for details and information on how to volunteer.