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The student-run news site of The Masters School

Tower

The student-run news site of The Masters School

Tower

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McCormack given a new role in the school community

Gender-expansive boarding dorm relocates
Last+year+Cushing+was+the+gender-expansive+from+on+campus.+However+for+the+2023-2024+school+year%2C+that+role+has+been+given+to+McCormack+which+features+single+dorms+and+a+small+subset+of+the+boarders+at+Masters.+There+are+13+residents+with+foru+student+proctors%2C+Alessandra+Ma%C3%B1alac+24%2C+McKarthy+Grimes+24%2C+Gifty+Baah+25+and+Sarah+Christie+25.
Laura Yuan
Last year Cushing was the gender-expansive from on campus. However for the 2023-2024 school year, that role has been given to McCormack which features single dorms and a small subset of the boarders at Masters. There are 13 residents with foru student proctors, Alessandra Mañalac ’24, McKarthy Grimes ’24, Gifty Baah ’25 and Sarah Christie ’25.

As ideologies around gender and sexuality evolve and become more inclusive at, the Masters School, they have made moves to offer housing to reflect this change in the boarding community. After opening up the first gender-expansive dorm in Cushing Dorm during the 2022-2023 school year, Jeff Carnevale, Dean of Students and Administration, made a decision to move the gender-expansive dorm to McCormack dorm(MCC). McCormack, home of the Health and Wellness Department offices located on the bottom and top floor, transitioned into housing students again for “strategic reasons” Carnevale said. 

Historically, McCormack housed students but has been closed since the Masters’COVID-19 closure. Since the pandemic, McCormack has only housed faculty and the counseling center. 

When a gender-expansive dorm was first introduced, it was housed in Cushing, but is now a five-day girls dorm.  

At the end of the 2019-2020 school year, CityTerm, a special semester school program hosted in Cushing closed leaving Cushing vacant, presenting an opportunity to open a gender-expansive dorm.

Carnevale explained that the plan and desire to have a gender-expansive dorm had been in the making for many years. He said, “How often do schools have a whole new building that opens up?”

With the growing number of students in the boarding community, McCormack presented as a potential home for the gender-expansive dorm. Uniquely, McCormack rooms are all singles, an architectural feature that Cushing did not provide.

“Everyone gets a single room, which can be really great for that type of space,” Carnevale said.

Isabelle Alessandra Mañalac ‘24 served as a Cushing proctor during the 2022-2023 school year and is now the head proctor at McCormack. She expressed feeling challenged by the first year in the gender expansive dorm, as a  leader.

“We had a lot of social issues, so they had to bring in another proctor to help handle the situation. Everyone was so new to the space, including the dorm parents, and Cushing had so many rules that the other dorms didn’t have; it was different,” she said. 

Mañalac strongly believes that the new culture in McCormack has improved immensely compared to last year.

“It is a lot better [compared to last year]It is less of a toxic space and we have a good relationship with the other dorms, especially Cushing.”

She credited the improvement to the rest of the proctor team, McKarthy Grimes ‘24, Gifty Baah ‘25, and Sarah Christie ‘25.

This school year, Upper School math teacher Arlene Casey volunteered to serve as a dorm parent in McCormack.  After living in Cushing for the first year of the gender-expansive dorm, Casey was familiar with the community of the small dorm and volunteered for the role. “I would like to be a dorm parent for that group again because I know them all so well.”

From a dorm parent angle, Casey recognizes the atmosphere that they were able to build. She said, “It ends up being a really tight-knit community. We have 13 students in the dorm, so everyone knows each other very well and it is very tight-knit and close. There are just a lot of great bonds and relationships that happen when you have such a small group of people living together.”

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