//PICTURED ABOVE: The new Activities and Transportation Coordinator Reagan Martin gets to know the girls in the residence department. Just five years ago, she herself was graduating from Hockaday, so the school holds a special place in her heart. Photo by Jenny Choi.
With a flash of bright hair and a burst of excited laughter, a familiar face popped up in the Schmitz Family Residence Hall at the end of September. Reagan Martin ‘13 introduced herself as the new part-time Activities and Transportation Coordinator, and took up residence in the empty faculty apartment between the Upper Morgan and Trent halls.
Martin moved into the bustling halls just when boarders had settled into the rhythm of the school year—hanging out with their friends in the lounges studying in the common area or walking to-and- from their rooms and the rest of the campus. Al- though none of the residence students have seen Martin’s face before September, she is no stranger to these halls. Martin is a former Hockaday residence student who graduated with the Class of 2013, and for her, returning to the dorms is almost like moving back home.
“A lot of things have changed, but at the same time, nothing has,” Martin said. “I have my own apartment with my own bathroom. Other than that, everything seems to be the same.”
The position of the Activities and Transportation Coordinator has been in different hands after the departure of former full-time coordinator Angie Jorgensen last spring. Since then, the job had been handled by sisters Irene and Lindsay Opoku-Acheampong until the end of last school year, following with Weekend Dorm Parent Robyn Fullum stepping up as the interim coordinator in August. Fullum had returned to her former title as full-time weekend dorm mom after the arrival of Martin.
The job of the Activities and Transportation Coordinator involves scheduling transportation for boarders to participate in off-campus activities. These trips range from a quick stop at Starbucks to a day at the Dallas Museum of Art, and they make up a large part of the residence experience at Hockaday. The job also includes the arrangement of transportation to-and-from the airport when students leave and return from holiday breaks. Ac- cording to Director of Residence Life Gary Stollar, the Activities and Transportation Coordinator holds an essential position in the residence department.
“I think it’s incredibly important that our boarders get outside of Hockaday, and that they get to experience things that they want to experience,” Stollar said. “It just creates a far better experience for boarders if they feel that they have access to activities in and around Dallas.”
Before coming back to Hockaday, Martin received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma, and she is now pursuing a master’s degree in American studies at the University of Dallas while getting a teaching certificate.
Martin was first informed of the position opening during the 2018 alumnae weekend, where former Director of Residence Life Meshea Matthews told her about the opportunity. When Gary Stollar stepped up as the new director of residence life, he reached out to Martin again about the availability of the job. Since Martin is now back at Dallas for graduate school, she thought that the position at Hockaday would be perfect for her.
“I loved Hockaday when I was here, and I’m getting my teaching certificate, so working in a school environment would be a really great opportunity for me for not only my studies but also for some career development,” Martin said.
Martin is confident that her past experience as a Hockaday resident will help her in her job, as she is familiar with not only the Dallas area, but the culture at Hockaday.
“I feel like I really understand the needs and expectations of what girls are wanting,” Martin said. “Or, if I don’t always get it right, I know that they can come and talk to me and I’ll come from of reference where I completely understand, because I was in your shoes.” Martin was no ordinary Hockaday boarder. During her senior year at Hockaday, she served as the House Council President. The House Council is the official student council of the residence department, and the role of the house council president involves listening to the needs of boarders and working with the residence administrators to address those needs. In her new job, Martin will be working with the House Council again, especially with House Council Vice President Dawn Grillo, who serves as the liaison between the students and the Activities and Transportation Coordinator. Grillo is in charge of holding planning committees, where resident students can share their transportation requests. Grillo then works with the Martin to schedule transportation accordingly.
“Because she’s younger, it will be a lot easier for her to understand the things we like to do,” Grillo said. “Especially because she was also a boarder, she will know not to have a Target trip at 4:15 p.m. because nobody’s gonna go.”
Dorm Parent Vicky Palmer was Martin’s dorm mom during her senior year and remembers Martin as always having a positive and friendly attitude towards students and staff. Palmer believes that Martin will be “terrific” at her new job.
“I was just thrilled to death that she was able to come back. She loves Hockaday. She’s one of the most dedicated Hockaday people I’ve ever met, so I thought her positive attitude would be so good for us,” Palmer said.
Though Martin is now Palmer’s colleague, Palmer still can’t help but feel like the “mother hand” to the girl that was once in her hall. Palmer is proud to witness Martin’s growth, however, and sees her as “a very competent adult.”
As Martin settles into her new position, one of the challenges she faces is the need to balance her school work with her job.
“There’s a balance for any adult who lives in boarding to be able to protect some of her time for herself, so that she’s able to do her job here and to study and do well in grad school, but also to be able to carve out personal time,” Stollar said. “That isn’t always easy when you live in a boarding school.”
Martin, on the other hand, believes that she will be able to handle her new responsibilities with a well-managed schedule that includes both designated study times and free time to visit with students and her colleagues.
“I really like being accessible and having the girls be able to come and talk to me when they need to come talk to me,” Martin said. “So it’s just creating boundaries when you find the time, but I feel like if you isolate yourself too much you really miss out on the experience.”
Looking forward, Martin hopes to build great relationships with both the students and the faculty.
She also hopes to bring back some of her favorite activities from when she was a student, like movie nights and community service trips, as well as fulfilling the requests of current boarders. Palmer believes that Martin can bring many fresh ideas to the table.
“I think she’ll be great in doing whatever we need, but so far, she’s wonderful,” Palmer said.
Story by Michelle Chen, Web Editor
Photo by Jenny Choi