February 21, 2009
When the assistant soccer coach at Brown was done with us, we hopped into the car and raced to Norton, MA to our last college of this trip: Wheaton. We left Providence at the time we were to arrive at Wheaton, and then missed our turn onto the correct highway, twice. Elsa called and told the admissions office that we were running late. The Wheaton people were so sweet that they arranged for a student to give us a private tour!
Upon arrival, the Dean of Admissions, Ms. Berson, came out to greet us and chat for a bit. We had met her at a Wheaton alumni gathering in Manhattan in January. We have had email contact since. Our tour guide, Sarah, was lovely and great to talk to because of her interests and her future plans. She has studied in Uganda and plans to do Teach for America for two years after she graduates this spring. Wheaton is adorable. It reminded me of Skidmore a bit in its size and scope. Half of the campus seems older and more Mount Holyoke-esque. The other half has more modern architecture and and a pond through it. Sarah showed us some buildings and classrooms and then delivered us to Coach Reis, the women's soccer coach at Wheaton.
Coach Reis was great. Elsa fell completely in love with the Wheaton soccer program. She felt that the coach presented his program in an inviting way. He seemed interested in her, and spoke to her in a respectful and welcoming manner. Coach Reis is unique in that he has players who have "walked on" to the team, will give non travel but talented players a shot on the field, and acknowledges how political selection onto ODP teams and into NCAA tournaments can be. He is totally personable and charming, and told us funny stories about his life as a coach. He has been coaching at Wheaton for 12 or 13 years and we hope he plans to continue. We had a great visit, and then a tour of his athletic facility and his lightless, but newly fenced field with new bleachers and scoreboard. We will definitely be visiting Wheaton again.
Elsa's rating: 10. My rating, 10.
Please revisit in April when we begin the "southern tour" which now looks limited to Pennsylvania and Maryland.