Zebra Tales
Trey '21

Band of Brothers

Ben Franklin once wrote, “Out of adversity comes opportunity.” The quote is elegantly simple. Tribulation gives us a chance to learn–to grow–and with the right attitude, challenge can feel far more rewarding than discouraging.
Riley’s Dorm took that silver-lining mentality to heart. To follow COVID guidelines, Groton clustered dorms together to reduce interaction between students. Due to the unusual circumstances, however, Riley’s had a unique chance to bond. Most students enter Groton in the Third Form, so besides the prefects and a few ex-Second Formers, the dorm was brand new.

As the resident prefects, Andrew, Noah, Walker, Lucas (remote-learning), and I tried to create a fun environment for our Third Formers, but if I’m being honest, it was the other way around; they were the ones who made each day a blast for us. On Saturday evenings, we played masked Ultimate Frisbee on the Circle. On Mondays, we employed an arsenal of scooters, Ripsticks, and longboards to help us take the trash and recycling out, and we spent Spirit Week in style with some killer costumes (see below). Plus, Riley’s became especially talented at Cornhole, Spikeball, and KanJam, and we watched the NHL playoffs together too.

Two or three times a month, Mr. Riley led us in socially-distanced meetings outside of St. John’s Chapel. At these gatherings, members of the dorm would share their Groton gratitude, or “Grotitude,” for others. We began the tradition after Walker mentioned the term in his chapel talk, and Grotitude gave us a moment to discuss all that we were thankful for. In the shadow of St. John’s, there was never a dull moment. The Third Formers were overjoyed to acknowledge those that had helped them–even if that help had been something as small as holding a door open. They delivered a ton of praise to their counterparts, and the atmosphere was overwhelmingly positive.

To reduce density in the Dining Hall, and because leaving campus and ordering out were forbidden, Groton stocked common room refrigerators with snacks and drinks. For some reason, our dorm always had an abundance of milk, so when the Third Formers wanted to relax, they would hold a “Chill and Milk” meeting. After study hall ended, I could find the crew dispersed at six-foot intervals throughout the hall–milk in hand–just hanging out. The sight often made me chuckle, but it was the intent, not the event, that impressed me.

The members of Riley’s Dorm were unequivocally there for each other, and they embraced the Groton ideal of inclusion. They wore their masks, prioritized safety, and found a way to see the bright side in every situation. I can’t wait to reunite with the boys later this month, and I look forward to finishing the winter term on a high note with them.