A jk through 12 independent school in Charlotte, NC

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Remarkable Student Life Experiences

All My Children
Posted 05/04/2017 02:59PM

For the hundreds of children, large and small, who pass through the Dickson-Sanger Dining Hall each day, two people serve up much more than a nourishing meal. Caring, kind, funny, and personable, Rachel Carter and Evelyn Hill have connected with Country Day students, teachers, and parents in a way that goes well beyond their job duties. The evidence is in the notes and drawings of appreciation that hang in their work spaces, in the Facebook connections they maintain with graduates, and in the camaraderie they share with our athletic program’s players, cheerleaders, coaches, parents, and fans.

Evelyn Turner, a third grader in Marsha Hodgin and Stacy Lynch’s class wrote in an essay about Ms. Evelyn: “She is so, so caring. If you or your friend get hurts, she will always, and I mean always, be there for you. She always does her best for us.”

“I get up early in the morning and I think about my Lower School children, and then the high schoolers. I can’t let them down. I look at it like I’m your parent away from your parent. They’re all my kids.”
--Evelyn Hill

Opening the Door

When the duo first started working at Country Day, 12 years ago for Rachel and 10 for Evelyn, the community connections were confined primarily to the dining hall. About seven years ago, Rachel, whose teen son was playing football at Waddell High School, began sharing her mutual interest in sports with the Buccaneer varsity players. “The football connection really opened the door,” says Rachel. “I had fun talking with and cheering on the kids and started to go to games on Friday nights. Then I got Evelyn to start coming with me.”

In time, these avid Bucs fans were fixtures at both home and away games. In turn, the parents of players have embraced Evelyn and Rachel, often making sure they have tickets for away games and inviting them to team dinners. “They take such good care of our boys,” says parent Christy Hall. “They have fun giving them nicknames and cheering loudly with encouraging words. The boys love it and so do I.”

For example, they nicknamed Thomas Jackson ’14 “Action Jackson” and even named a burrito after him his senior year. This past fall, Thomas has made an impact as a wide receiver for the Tar Heels. “It feels good to see these kids doing well and know we were in their lives,” says Rachel. “When I see Thomas on TV, I get to point and say ‘Hey, that’s one of my kids who came through my line.’”

In addition to football games, Evelyn and Rachel usually attend graduation, and they take part in Moving Up and other events when they can. For Rachel, who is a single mom of three and was briefly homeless, working at Country Day allows her to relive a high school experience she didn’t have. She says that working here has also helped her to be a better parent. “When I was younger, I didn’t think going to college was important. As I got older and became a parent, I saw the importance. The teachers and counselors here have helped me guide my son successfully so that he could go to Western Carolina on an academic scholarship.”

Evelyn, who has four grown children of her own, says it’s very rewarding when students invite her to a graduation party or talk to her as a trusted adult. “They have a lot on their minds, and I am always here for them,” she says. And like any good parent, she also adds, “but I don’t sugarcoat. This is the real world and they need to know that.” She continues, “As much as I like being a part of their lives, the real highlight for me is when a parent comes up at a game or here in the cafeteria and says, ‘I just want to meet you because I’ve heard so much about you.’ That is just so amazing and we are all one family.”

Charlotte Country Day School
1440 Carmel Rd Road, Charlotte,
NC North Carolina 28226
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