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By Blake Hamill '02
Other students know when Stephanie McMurrich '01 comes to the dining hall with her friends. "They love to get up and walk around and check things out,"McMurrich said. "Sometimes they put food all over their faces and just act plain silly."
High-spirited? Maybe, but what do you expect from 9-year-olds?
At 21, McMurrich is a veteran volunteer whose latest endeavor has been to link with Colby Companion, a program affiliated with the Big Brother/Big Sister program that matches Colby students with children from the greater Waterville community. McMurrich's "little sister" is Anjelika Cray of Winslow. The other kids are her friends. "Sometimes it is difficult because every time I go to pick up my 'little sister,' all the neighborhood kids want to come, too," McMurrich said.
There is room for more Colby volunteers, but McMurrich couldn't be expected to do more. She started volunteering as a high school senior in the Framingham, Mass., Headstart program. She continued with Waterville Headstart for her first three years at Colby but this year sought a more personal relationship with one child. It worked.
Though McMurrich sometimes gets the whole troop, she gets time with her young friend, too. "She loves to come to Colby and hang out at my senior apartment with my friends," McMurrich said. "We do fun things together like swimming in the Colby pool, checking out new products at Bath & Body Works, and sometimes we go to movies."
She and her young friend were apart during January when McMurrich worked in a pediatric unit at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Newton, Mass. A psychology major, she worked with a child life specialist, an expert in helping hospitalized children cope. "So I spend time with all sorts of sick children and try to make their stays as painless as possible," McMurrich said at the time. "We chat and play, and sometimes I just hold the children."
And they hold her, too, in more ways than one. "The last time I left my 'little sister's' house, she told me she loved me," McMurrich said. "She also tells me that she wants to work really hard so that she too can go to Colby. It makes me feel good because I feel like I inspire her to do well."
HOW SHOULD WE TEACH?
Small Triumphs: Alex Quigley '99 finds reason for both hope and despair in the Mississippi Delta
A Ray of Hope: Brittany Ray '93 inspires where she found her inspiration
An Education CEO: Robert Furek '65 brings accountability to Hartford public schools
Charting Success: James Verrilli '83 directs charter school turn-around in Newark
Perspectives on Reform: Colby experts discuss reform and the purpose of education
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