Full Circle

A senior prefect returns to her freshman dorm.


On the Hilltop, members of the freshman class reside or are affiliated with a dorm across the street from the School’s academic buildings and the iconic Chapel and Bricks. Together, in what has become known as the “freshman circle,” they live in house-style dorms and grow as a class. Senior Miriam Ivanenko lived in Kniffin as a freshman. Three years later, she has come full circle — returning to “the circle” — as a prefect in her freshman dorm.

When she first moved back into Kniffin, Miriam felt scared — similar to how she felt on her freshman move-in day. But quickly, she realized that she is now in a different place in her life. She has grown up during her time on the Hilltop; she’s served as a dean’s assistant, the secretary of VOICE, a resident assistant, a leader of the 50/50 club, and the editor-in-chief of the Pontefract. She also helps run the Writing Center, organizes the blood drive, and maintains the student life Instagram account.

As a prefect, Miriam assists dorm parents with creating a sense of community, planning activities, and enforcing the rules. She also serves as a role model for the girls living in Kniffin. “I have enjoyed getting to know the freshmen in my dorm. I hope I can inspire them in some way to make the most of their time at Pomfret,” shares Miriam. She is already amazed by the connections she has made with the girls. When they come to her for advice, Miriam draws from her experience on the Hilltop to offer suggestions on how to confront their challenges.

But Miriam is not the only one making an impact. The freshmen living in Kniffin are teaching her a thing or two. “They’ve taught me how to be goofy and have fun! Sometimes we make TikTok videos together,” says Miriam. She plans to channel their passion for song and dance in this year’s Airbands competition — a highly-anticipated annual tradition where dorms go head-to-head in a lip sync and dance battle each spring. “Kniffin is going to dominate this year!”

Soon enough the girls in Kniffin have the opportunity to serve as leaders and volunteer for community service projects. Miriam wants them to know they can make a difference. “I want them to think if one person can help twenty girls, what can twenty girls do in the Pomfret community?”

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