|Grady Willard and Bryce Lew|
in the Chandramohan Library
The school year has started. Whether you are new to Flintridge Prep or are returning after a long summer, you are undoubtedly going to be working hard to get back into that usual school routine, make new friends, hang out with old ones, and get to know your teachers and their classes.
But there is one thing that everybody should do, whether you are a Middle Schooler, a rising sophomore, or a senior.
Go talk to the Prep librarians.
More so than any other teachers at Prep, the librarians have the ability to see the big picture in each of our lives. The library sits at the center of Prep’s campus. Walk in and you will undoubtedly get a taste of student life: Student Community Action Council (SCAC) meetings, calculus tutoring, essays and theses in progress and bulletin announcements on upcoming student events. From the windows, you can see the daily grind of sports practices, with swimmers gliding across the pool and the football being tossed between two teammates.
The librarians see everything that happens on the campus. Their relationship with the student body is not just confined to administrative offices or classrooms. They fill in the gaps - those restless free periods, cold and sleepy early mornings, and bright and energetic afternoons - with guidance and friendship. You can walk up to their desk at any time and start talking classes, athletics, student government, community service or anything of the sort that interests you.
You might be surprised about the stories each of them can tell. Mrs. Ursettie can discuss politics and philanthropy. Mrs. Eldridge can help you formulate theses and help with online technology and Mrs. Hodge can find a book on nearly any research paper topic (and without any trouble!).
Use their vast knowledge to your benefit when you write a paper for Mr. Perlman’s Honors European History Class on Renaissance art or when you are researching water chemistry for Ms. Clark’s 11th Grade Science Class. All three librarians know the style of writing that Prep teachers are looking for and asking for edits can often help your grade. But the librarians are also eager to hear what you are writing about, give feedback on various arguments you are developing, and point out various ways to approach a topic. Here are just two examples that come to mind: A few months ago, Mrs. Eldridge helped me fine tune a point I wanted to make about the paradox of wanting both lower energy costs and a free and open market (the two cannot exist together!). She also helped another senior link the power of winning in a basketball game to brain psychology. The librarians want to learn, and they want to learn with you and from you.
Prep’s librarians are in a unique position in that they just do not see the development of us as students, over one year. They see it for six years. And we can go back and back to them on any assignment until we graduate.
But their work extends beyond the classroom. Mrs. Eldridge works with the Library Advisory Council to bring more technology to the library. Mrs. Hodge is the librarian who signs off on many student activity forms and will give you the confidence to do your best as you lead the Student Senate into organizing the Blood Drive or the Club Rush and Community Impact Fair. All of the time and dedication that these three put into student life shows just how committed Prep’s librarians are to our well-being and to their desire to see us succeed. Prep’s librarians see us at all hours of the day and want us to have fun too. They understand the enormous pressure we are under to make friends, get good grades, and get into college. That is why Mrs. Ursettie leads two big events on campus that are dedicating to showing off student talent, the Junior Parent Dinner and the always hysterical Mr. Flintridge Prep.
As Mrs. Ursettie once told me, the three Prep librarians have a sort of “inalienable
magic” when they are together. They can shift seamlessly from the fun hat to the working hat to the academic hat, always helping to inspire and advocate for the students body. Each librarian can do anything, at any time.
So I hope that in the first week or two of school, you will go up to one of the librarians. Or maybe even all three. Introduce yourself with a couple of weird facts.
It just might be one of the most important things you do at Flintridge Prep. And it will almost certainly land you three great friends not just for the duration of your Prep experience, but for life.
Grady Willard is a member of the Flintridge Preparatory Class of 2014 and is beginning his freshman year at Georgetown University. One of the high points of each day of his senior year was walking into the library to share his latest thoughts about classes, student government and life with Mrs. Hodge, Mrs. Eldridge, and Mrs. Ursettie. He could not possibly think of a senior year without the kind, humble, and hardworking librarians. His only regret was that he did not get to know the librarians earlier in his Prep experience.