The Dorms Are Gone

Not many people know what is being done to them.
The Dorms Are Gone

At the end of the 2022-2023 school year, many Totino-Grace High School students were saddened that the dorms were closing. The thing is, only a few people know why.

Totino-Grace’s Assistant Director of Enrollment and International Students, Mrs. Shanna Peterson, offered insight into the closing of the dorms.

“The dorms were made a long time ago to the point where to keep up with standards and guidelines we would have to invest a large sum of money to keep it going,” said Peterson.

Not only were the dorms not profitable, but according to Peterson, the outbreak of COVID-19 significantly hurt our foreign exchange program and its enrollment. 

But just because the dorms are gone does not mean our international student program is over. Peterson said, “There are no plans for the dorms to return, but at Totino-Grace we still have international students through our homestay program.” 

This homestay program still allows international students to attend Totino-Grace, but they must find a host to live with. Although the number of International students has declined, those who want to have a chance to stay at Totino-Grace have an option.

As someone with many friends and acquaintances who came through the international student program, it is sad to see them leave.

One of those people was Daniel Janeczek, a class of 2024 international student from the Czech Republic. Janeczek was very involved in the Totino-Grace community. He played soccer, wrestled, and ran track. He was also involved in other clubs, such as Campus Ministry. He lived in the dorms for the 22-23 school year.

Janeczek said, “I had fun in the dorms, the community was very close and I made friends from around the world.” But he decided not to return to Totino-Grace and is now in his home country, the Czech Republic.

Janeczek helps us understand that the dorm was not only there for the educational development of international students but also for social development through meeting new people worldwide. 

Although most students know that the dorms are gone, not many know what is being done to replace them. Peterson also addressed this issue. “Before the dorms were dorms they were a retreat center. It was decided that it would be best to revert them to their roots.”

Since its closing at the end of the school year, many clubs have decided to use the space already. Student Ministry has held meetings inside, and most notably, Mrs. Mary Dengerud has an all-female worship club that meets inside the old dorms. 

While we miss our old friends from the dorms, change is inevitable, and we have to move on eventually. We need to see its positives to make the best out of any situation.

We now have a place to meet with our peers, study, worship, and many other things. And we are already starting to see many benefits such as the freshman retreats being held in the new retreat center.


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