Approximately 166 students took their first step toward their collegiate career when they entered the College of Saint Elizabeth on Wednesday, August 22, 2012. Move-In Day was its usual bustle of families moving their daughters into the resident halls. Families lugged refrigerators and boxes upstairs and made the beds and put clothes away, all to help their daughters begin their next big adventure.
The Class of 2016 is made up of students from 19 New Jersey counties, plus the states of Arizona, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington. CSE also welcomed students from Afghanistan, China, Equador, Ethiopia, Japan, Northern Ireland, and Zimbabwe. Their reasons for choosing CSE are as diverse as their hometowns.
Mary McChesney of Sparta, N.J., came to CSE for the academics. “The College of Saint Elizabeth is well known for its teacher education program.” Her friend and former high school classmate Ashley Bouwense of Long Valley, N.J., standing next to her, chose the College “because it is close knit. It is like family here.”
New roommates Paige Tyler Hinson of Cherry Hill, N.J., and Karina Garcia, a softball player from Lancaster, Pa., were sold on the campus. Says Hinson, “When I came to visit, I just really liked it. It is a nice campus with a nice town surrounding it.”
The journey to New Jersey for Lynette Hardy and Chantelle Garcia, students from the Navajo Nation, an area spanning parts of Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico, began one year ago. That’s when Hardy visited the tri-state area as part of a high school trip. The CSE resident hall was home for part of the trip. “I fell in love with the school,” remembers Hardy. “It is so full of life and so green!” Returning home, she told her friend and classmate Garcia. “We came here in May (2012) for a visit,” remembers Garcia. “I really liked the school because it is small. We come from a small school, so we are used to that. At the College, you can get from place to place.”
After move-in and lunch, the new arrivals and their families had an afternoon of activities, including a parents’ orientation and a session of student icebreaker activities. The day ended with a New Beginnings Family Blessing. As the Class of 2016 gets ready for two more days of orientation, their families departed for home, a bittersweet moment for most mothers and fathers. Devina Thomas seems to speak for all parents when she says of her “first and only child” Amiracle, “I have mixed feelings, but good feelings. I am so proud and happy for her.”