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March 8, 2010

Smithies to Scatter Far and Wide This Spring Break

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. – Like many of her Smith College classmates, sophomore Natalie Sargent is taking advantage of spring break the third week in March to get off campus, relax and escape the familiar routine.

However, Sargent’s destination – a monastery in the rural town of Petersham, Mass. – is otherwise the antithesis of the warm seaside destination typical of U.S. college students spring break plans.

“I wanted to get off campus but, at the same time, I did not want to go to a place like Miami Beach where I’d be going, going, going,” said Sargent, a religion major.

The old monastery, inhabited by Benedictine monks and nuns, is a world away from Sargent’s life at Smith. On campus, she juggles her courses with work—as a research assistant to Professor Emeritus of Religion Karl Donfried, as a student academic adviser, a dining server at the President’s House and a Gold Key Guide.

At the monastery Sargent will dine with nuns, attend religious services and read without distraction. With the spotty cell phone service there, Sargent said, she likely won’t even have access to the Internet.

“I wanted to recharge,” she added. “The monastery is a place where you can relax and be yourself. As a Smithie, I could certainly use some relaxation.”

Other Smith students set their sights on different destinations

Several Smithies plan to spend spring break with classmates participating in typical activities in atypical locations. Tennis player Nawal Mays ’11 will be off to Hilton Head, S.C., with the team; rower Eve Hunter ’12 will head to Georgia with the crew team; and softball player Megan Michelle Kiefer ’10 will train with the team in Florida.

The break will also offer the opportunity for Smith’s Chamber Singers to perform in Italy. The choir, which comprises 25 members of the Glee Club and Chorus, will tour southwestern Italy performing sacred and secular music in English, Latin, French and Italian, said Tara Noyes ’12, a soprano.

Spring break will be a time for friends to gather. Alumna Diana Alvarado ’06, now studying for her law degree at the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, plans to gather with her fellow Smithies.

Home will attract other Smithies. Anna JayDee Mwaba ’10 will spend the week at home in Tunis, Tunisia. And, Ruth Spurlock ’11 will be off to Barcelona and Paris to hang out with her sister.

But at least one Smithie is headed to a common spring break destination to stretch out beneath palm trees and swim in the ocean.

First-year Joanna Trott plans to visit her friend in St. Petersburg, Fla., where manatees, dolphins and sting rays swim off the coast. Also on the docket: kayaking through a local mangrove forest.

“I’m a first-year, so this is my first official spring break,” said Trott. “I can’t wait for the warm sun and the beach.”


Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Kristen Cole
Media Relations Director
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174

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