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Alumni Serving in New Roles on Campus Share Their Insights
By Dan Ressner ’99 | Back to Table of Contents
As Ravenscroft prepared to bring teachers and students back to campus in a hybrid-learning model this fall, school leaders expanded their corps of teacher assistants and full-time substitutes and brought in proctors to facilitate student work in classes that are being taught remotely. We caught up with three alumni — Dominic Parker ’08, Lindsay Cowher Kelly ’09 and Laura Higginson ’10 — who returned to campus this fall to support teachers and students in these critical roles. Here’s what they shared with us.
What prompted you to make the decision to return to serve the school during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Dominic Parker ’08: Being a college basketball coach and the uncertainty of having a season. I saw it as an opportunity to come back to a place where it all started for me.
Lindsay Cowher Kelly ’09: During the year, my family anticipated moving back to Tokyo for my husband’s job as a basketball player. Unfortunately, with the restrictions in place due to COVID, his team was only able to permit him into Japan. My three kids and I had to make the choice to stay here in Raleigh, and this granted the unique opportunity for me to return to the classroom (something I’ve missed deeply while raising my kids abroad!). I was extra excited to serve in these times because support for both students and teachers has never been needed more.
Laura Higginson ’10: I had wanted to start working at schools for quite some time, and when I heard that Ravenscroft needed full-time substitutes in the Lower School, it felt like the next right thing. It has been a wonderful experience, and I love being part of such an incredible community.
How do you connect your experience as a Ravenscroft student to your role today?
Parker: Being a student at Ravenscroft prepared me for life as an adult. Most importantly, it taught me discipline and hard work.
Kelly: Working in the Lower School looks a tad different than my experience at Ravenscroft in the Upper School; however, my little “fun fact” that I graduated as a Raven is one of my favorite things to share with students! I also love seeing all the positive changes the school has made since my time here. My perspective as an educator and adult really enlightened my appreciation for what goes on behind the scenes.
Higginson: I connect my experience as a student with my role today through Ravenscroft’s mission of nurturing individual potential. I truly felt seen and cared for as a Ravenscroft student, which is something I hope to pass on to today’s students, especially during this time of uncertainty.
What is the best thing about being back at Ravenscroft? What is the biggest challenge?
Parker: One of the best things about being back at Ravenscroft is it hasn’t changed much. It still has that family atmosphere. There aren’t too many challenges that I have faced.
Kelly: The best part for me is working with the students and faculty alike. I truly enjoy and look forward to walking in the doors every single day because of the positive and enriching environment. Having school be that way amidst the current state of the world has never felt more important. An extra-special present for me is that my son is in kindergarten here, so we get to share that experience together. The biggest challenge, as many would probably agree, has been adapting to all the changes in classroom interaction and facilitation (including the important role of technology). I would say that the students — even the youngest ones — have really been impressive in how well they’ve adapted. I do miss real hugs, however!
Higginson: The best thing about being back at Ravenscroft is being part of the on-campus community, without a doubt. The faculty, staff and students bring so much positive energy and excitement each and every day. The biggest challenge, of course, is navigating it all during COVID. I am beyond impressed with the precautions the school has taken and the safety procedures they’ve put in place.
How do you think your experience as a proctor/teacher assistant/substitute will serve you going forward?
Parker: This experience has helped me in a lot of ways. Proctoring for Upper School history teacher Mary Beth Immediata, and seeing how prepared and organized she is, gives me the motivation to be just as prepared and organized when it comes to my profession. She is so passionate about history and teaching, which is something I am going to take with me to my next endeavor as an assistant men’s basketball coach at Guilford College. When you have a genuine passion for something it makes the work more enjoyable and fulfilling. I will always be thankful for my experience at Ravenscroft as a student and staff member.
Kelly: It has been so beneficial for me as I step back into the school after years of raising kids outside of it. I always pride myself on having the ability to improvise and adapt on the fly as a mother, and it’s been awesome working to step into that same role as an educator. I feel like my “teacher toolbox” fills more every day, and I hope to be able to use this year to grow and work in the classroom, in anticipation of being in the international school setting again in the future.
Higginson: I am truly passionate about early childhood development and education, so this experience has proven to be invaluable. I am excited to see what comes next!
Know a Ravenscroft grad we should have on our watchlist? Send us the details via “Submit a Class Note” at www.ravenscroft.org/alumni.
Dominic Parker ’08
Lindsay Cowher Kelly ’09
Laura Higginson ’10