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Hamilton Holt students speak up

If you have gone to Rollins long enough, you are probably very well aware of the misguided and shockingly apparent disparity amongst Rollins College’s Arts and Sciences students and Holt students—one that by the end of this article I hope to have helped evaporate. The Holt Faces and Voices idea, as Morgen Chaderton ’15HH puts it, is “. . . mostly an initiative taken on by the Holt School administration, the Dean of Students, Connie Holt, Dean Richards, and Deborah Tatum, to name a few.”

Although it is referred to as the Hamilton Holt School, it is better recognized as a different program so as to not further divide A&S and Holt; both abide by the same rigor and uphold the same academic expectations of their students because we are all—whoa, wait for it—Rollins students. As an A&S student taking part in primarily A&S classes, I am well versed in the thought processes of other A&S students. A startlingly great deal of us look at Holt students very differently, seeming to believe that their education is somehow different from the ones we receive, while other A&S students even rumor that Holt students are not “really Rollins students.” This is clearly not true; as a student of Rollins, whether your class takes place in the day or the evening, you are receiving a great deal of the same exact classes which are taught by the same exact professors—not by a bunch of randoms housed in Orlando Hall to teach a different critical analysis of Orwell’s ‘1984’.

Now, some confusion might come from the vast age group of Holt students, but they also consist of a large number recent high school graduates. Slowly debunking the ill-informed idea of a Holt Student, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to sit down and speak Chaderton ’15HH, an all around exceptional Rollins Holt student. Chaderton ’15HH is senior who has double majored in Music and International Affairs while also being a friendly face you might see in the Financial Aid office where she works as an assistant. Chaderton ’15HH is also a senator for SGA and is heavily involved in the music sorority of Sigma Alpha Iota. She acts as a member of the presidential search committee, peer advisor to other Holt students, a Rollins Student Ambassador, and “actively assists in our New Student Orientations and BA Information Sessions” as Holt Advisor Deborah Tatum shared with me.

Chaderton ’15HH opened the interview stating that “Holt is always known as the best kept secret at Rollins. . . [but] the students are stereotyped to just come to class and then leave, [while] in reality there are Holt students everywhere: sororities, fraternities, leadership positions on campus… It’s not fair that they’re left in this stigma, and it’s time for Holt to have a voice, Holt to have a say in things—for everyone’s voice to be heard and treated equally at Rollins.” This statement, a reaffirming dismantling of rumors I had heard repeatedly my freshman year in regards to Holt students—of how they are not allowed to be involved or cannot be involved—letting the wrong belief of these weird anti-social Rollins students linger in my mind. However, these thoughts never settled as I know many very active Holt students. Holt students are in Kappa Delta, and the president of LASA is a Holt student.

The dynamic of Holt is changing, it’s not just a 40 year old mom who wants to go back to college after her kids are taken care of. We have traditional students, working people who want a second Bachelor’s, and people in their 60s and finally have time to go back to school. It is the most dynamic and interchangeable and diverse group. It needs more light shed on it.

The differences amongst the Holt program and the A&S program are that Holt classes take place at night Mondays through Thursdays, with the exception of the Music and English departments: those two programs are cross listed and classes occur both throughout the day and on Fridays. Holt students are also not required to pay the same fees that are inclusive of on-campus A&S students, which range from the meal plan to the health insurance if you do not already have your own outside provider. A&S is catered to the more traditional college experience with around 90% being of the ages 18-23, whereas Holt is more heavily diverse and varied in age with the oldest student being 78 and the average being 27. For some A&S students college is sometimes just the next step, and with Holt students it is not just the next step or expected road to follow but another educational opportunity more catered to their lifestyle. As Rollins puts it on the Holt website: “Here you’ll find the same great level of academic rigor that you would at any other esteemed residential college, but with a slight difference: our programs are designed with working adults in mind. We know the challenge of balancing life, work, family, and education, and we don’t think you should have to sacrifice one area for another. For that reason, our evening classes allow you to pursue bachelors and master’s degrees at a time that fits your schedule.” With a great deal of Holt students paying for college out of pocket, as well as the older side of the Holt program coming back to school a second time, there is also a different sense of pride that is placed on education—but each of us are all still Rollins students simply pursuing education in different ways.

With last year being a bit sour for Holt students, who were not at all aware of basic things that the majority of us received incessant emails on such as Title IX or the new smoking policies that were being voted on, there is a growing change to have each of us all equally aware and voice our opinions—not just receive an email at the end of it all, completely blind of everything else. From revamping the powers that Holt SGA has, thanks to the help of Vice President of Student Affairs Mamta Accapadi, to granting Holt a greater voice, the disparity is dismantling. Holt students are being seen more and more on campus. In tearing down the outside perception of Rollins being a one type country club kind of prep school, we are being seen more as a diverse liberal arts institution and are also better displaying that diversity we strive for.

With students such as Rachel Kesler ’15HH—a double major in Economics and Organizational Behavior, an active member on the SGA and Academic Honor Council, and presently serving on the Academic Affairs and Food Services committees alongside being a member of the College’s Institutional Review Board (IRB)—it is hard to say that Holt students are any different from us. D’vonte Chapman’15HH, “a Music major at Holt. He is the Student Voice Leader in the Music Department and also a co-founder of the Sigma Eta Chapter at Rollins College of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.” Trevor May ’16HH, an “Elementary Education major, and serving as a Leadership Ally at Rollins and also an active member in the SGA.” Ashley Williams is a “graduate student in our Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program and the graduate assistant in the Career & Life Planning Office” and a member of “Psi Chi, the international honor society for psychology,” just a few of her accomplishments. And Samantha Voehringer, a graduate student in the MAC program. She is the grad assistant in TJ’s Tutoring & Writing Center and assists struggling students develop better study and time management skills. Students like these are just some that Tatum mentioned alongside Chaderton ’15HH. The Hamilton Holt School offers a great deal to the dynamic of Rollins, and it is time that they are recognized as equal components of such.

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