Interviewee: Nathan LaChaine
Narrator: Jean McMillen
File #: 32, cycle 2
Place of Interview: 41 Chatfield Drive, Lakeville, Ct.
Date: June 16, 2016
Summary of talk: Family background, freshman at Salisbury School for Boys and Summer Youth Work Program.
Nathan LaChaine Interview:
This is file #32, cycle 2. Today’s date is June 16, 2016. I am interviewing Nathan LaChaine. He is going to talk about his experiences at Salisbury School. He is also going to add a little bit about the summer Youth Work Program where he is working now. We’ll start with the genealogical information. By the way this is Jean McMillen.
JM: What is your name?
NL: Nathan LaChaine
JM: When were you born?
NL: October 28, 2000
JM: Your birth place?
NL: Sharon, Ct. at the Sharon Hospital
JM: Your parents’ names?
NL: Becky & Jean LaChaine
JM: Do you have brothers?
NL: I have two brothers; my younger brother is Dylan, my older brother is Nicholas.
JM: Where have you gone to school?
NL: I went to Salisbury Central all the way from kindergarten to 8th grade. Then I did my 0th grade year at IMS. Then I repeated 9th grade at Salisbury School.
JM: So this year you were a freshman?
JM: Why did you choose Salisbury School?
NL: I just felt that there was a real brotherhood there. It was a great community. I really liked it.
JM: You knew about it from background?
NL: Yeah from my brother who goes there. There were kids that go there from the school I went to went with me.
JM: So you already had friends when you entered. That makes a great deal of difference. How do you get into the school, what is the procedure?
NL: You have to take the SSAT test; it is like an application test. You have to apply and they look at all your grades and things. You go in and get an interview with someone in the Admissions Department. That person will give you a yes or a no.
JM: When you apply do you have a form to fill out?
JM: do you have to write an essay or is it just answering questions?
NL: I think I had to write an essay, but I only had to write one essay for every school.
JM: Oh so it could go for several schools.
NL: I did a common application for the 3 schools where I applied; the only school that did not have that was Hotchkiss.
JM: Where else did you apply?
NL: Millbrook, Berkshire and Salisbury
JM: They are all excellent school. There was no actual school test to get in. They used the SSATs.
JM: What subjects did you take this year?
NL: I took Algebra 2, Conceptual Physics which is like an introduction to physics, Spanish 2, Freshman English, and World History.
JM: What did you like the best?
NL: Probably Conceptual Physics because it was really hands-on like a lot of labs.
JM: What did you like least?
NL: Math was hard for me, I struggle with math.
JM: Was it the subject or the way it was taught in your opinion?
NL: I think it was the way it was taught. Our teacher went by things really fast. Like we got through the whole textbook with two weeks left of school. There were 4 kids in our class that got 100 on everything and there were a few kids that struggled. He did not really go back and go over anything. Some of us were shy to ask for help.
JM: That makes it very difficult for the students that need more explanation or more preparation. Tell me about the school schedule. It is different than what I thought it would be. 3.
NL: There is Week 1 and Week 2. We have 5 classes every day except for Wednesdays and Saturdays because those are our game days.
JM: What do you mean by game days?
NL: You can have games any day technically, but most of the time it is Wednesdays and Saturdays because we get out at 12:30.Then we go to lunch and then you can go to your games.
JM: I see the whole afternoon is games rather than school curriculum.
NL: Usually I have three classes on those days but they are all hour blocks instead of 50 minutes. It is different every day to cycle through all the classes. Week 2 is completely different and then it goes back to week 1. This keeps it interesting because you have a different schedule every day for two weeks.
JM: That would drive me nuts, but for your age group that is what you need the variety does keep you interested.
JM: How about homework? How much homework do you get generally?
NL: I usually have one hour and a half.
JM: Is that for each subject or all of them together?
NL: All together but that would be a lesser day. It depends on if I have a test. I have to study more for a test. For that I study for one hour and something so if I don’t have any tests, I don’t have that much so I can get it done in my free period and then have an hour after school. Most times I have a quiz or test so that will take 2 ½ hours to do all of my work.
JM: Do you freeze on tests? Do you go blank when you get in to a test situation?
NL: Not really but I have a tendency to wait to the last minute to start studying.
JM: A lot of people do that. When you are studying for a test, how do you do this? Do you reread your notes, do you memorize? Do you have a friend work with you? How do you study for a test?
NL: It depends on what subject. History I will go over my notes which are what I do for history. Math my mom is a math teach and she usually helps me with the problems and review the back of the textbook. With English I will go on line and read the summary of the past 5 chapters to refresh because there is not much you can really do for English. Physics I am really good at that so I don’t study much for that.
JM: That is your strength. I am a hand-on person myself. If it is something I can do, I remember it, but I am not aural. If you tell me three directions, I have to write them down.
JM: You have a demerit system. What is that?
NL: If you skip a class that is 3 demerits. If you get there before 15 minutes it is one demerit, but if you show up 20 minutes late or don’t even show up, you get three demerits. With three demerits you get early morning detention. You can also get 2 demerits for skipping chapel. If you don’t follow the dress code, you get a demerit, but most teachers aren’t really strict about that. 6 demerits is Sunday detention which is about 3 hours’ worth of detention on Sunday. They reset at every term but they are hard to get because most teachers are pretty lenient. If you show up 5 minutes late, they will give you that. The only time you really get demerits is if you skip a class. Most kids don’t skip classes. If you tell the teacher,” I slept in, and I am really sorry.” And if it is your first time, they will give you a pass on that.
JM: I would think that because you have to be transported to school, you would not have demerits for being late for class, unless you are fooling around with your friends.
NL: In the morning I was never late. I think we rushed out once and got there 5 minutes late to history class. My history teacher usually takes about 5 minutes to start class and he really didn’t care. If you explain to a teacher that I just got here, they understand.
JM: What do you do for extracurricular activities?
NL: I took art in the winter; I took cardboard sculpture which was a lot of fun.
JM: You did some special project a big project with that cardboard sculpture.
NL: Yeah I made a key that goes into a lock.
JM: A door key?
NL: Yeah but it was probably as tall as the ceiling (8 feet). We took small objects and made then big. One kid in my class made a handsaw which was probably about 15 feet long; it was huge. People made a hole puncher which was big. It was a lot of fun.
JM: Who taught that class?
NL: Miss Mayler.
JM: Anything else for extracurricular?
NL: I did sports, soccer in the fall hockey in the winter, and baseball in the spring.
JM: With soccer are you junior varsity or varsity?
NL: I played fourths more to get in shape because I am not really that good at soccer. It was more to meet kids. They had 2 teams and we practiced together so I actually met a lot of kids.
JM: How about hockey?
NL: I played thirds.
JM: Had you gone to Salisbury because of the sports program or did you have other reasons?
NL: My main sport is baseball; they have a really good baseball team. But also my mom teaches there.
JM: That makes it comfortable. What position do you play in baseball?
NL: Shortstop and second baseman.
JM: That is good. Chapel when is it?
NL: Every Tuesday and Friday and it is 30 minutes in the morning from 8 to 8:30.
JM: Do you know why the school has compulsory chapel?
NL: Every single day of the week we have an all school meeting so Mondays and Thursdays we have sit down lunch where we sit with our advisors. Tuesday and Fridays is chapel so the whole school is there. Wednesday and Saturday we have we all go outside in the quad and all the teachers give announcements and anything that the students have to say student announcements. The Student President gets up there, and runs it.
JM: Who is the president? Is that Mr. Chandler?
NL: No we have a school president; it was Jake Hesscock this year.
JM: Community Service does the school do any community service?
NL: Yeah they have a Big Brother’s program so kids from town will come to Salisbury every Friday night and they play games with them, some of the older kids. You can sign up for it.
JM: It is a single gender school. You have been in Salisbury Central and Indian Mountain so you have had the two experiences. Which do you prefer all boys or mixed?
NL: I probably would prefer mixed, but I feel like all boys are better for me.
NL: It just keeps me more focused; there are no distractions. Part of that is you don’t have to care how you look as much.
JM: I know you know the motto, and I know that you know the meaning, but I am going to ask you again. What does the motto mean?
NL: To be rather than to seem to be.
JM: Did you ever take Latin, by any chance?
NL: No just Spanish.
JM: From what different countries do the foreign students come?
NL: There are a lot of Chinese students, Korean students, some Viet Nam students; there are also a good amount of Mexicans and Hispanics.
JM: Are any of your particular friends from these different countries?
NL: I am pretty good friends with some of the Mexicans.
JM: Do you practice your Spanish?
NL: Sort of
JM: Dress code and I know there is one.
NL: Yeah we need to have a blazer, button down shirt, tie, fall and winter you have to have pants with socks and nice shoes. You can’t be wearing sneakers. Also you have to have a belt.
JM: I get a kick out of the belt. Both Nicholas and you have emphasized the belt.
NL: It is such a big deal. If you don’t have a belt, teachers will give you demerits.
JM: Do you mind the dress code? Or does it make any difference?
NL: I am used to it by now. The only thing that annoys me is how long it takes to get dressed in the morning. It would be way easier just to slip on some sweatpants.
JM: IMS used to have a dress code.
NL: The still do.
JM: That’s good. Is the food good?
NL: Yeah I like the food. Do you get enough to eat?
NL: Yeah there is always a variety; you can make a sandwich, salad. They always have pasta so if you don’t like to eat the other stuff, you can get some pasta. They usually have two or three main options, too.
JM: How do you apply for the summer Youth Program?
NL: Actually I did that last week. Originally two years ago they gave us at Salisbury Central a form there and you just went and put your name on it with your two main options of what you wanted to do. I think I put down tennis and sailing because I did both of those for 5 years when I was younger. I am not the best at tennis but I can do it. This year I just had to go to a meeting last week and put in all my information for when they send out paychecks.
JM: At the meeting did you have to fill out any forms?
NL: Yeah a lot of forms but that was pretty much all it was.
JM: Do you remember what the forms were that you had to fill out?
NL: Name, address, date of birth, and social security number
JM: Contact information. Did you get your first choice assignment?
NL: Yes I got tennis.
JM: Are you at the Grove?
NL: No it is behind Patco, the gas station. At the local tennis courts right there.
JM: Ok the community field
NL: It is three hours in the morning three groups each for one hour.
JM: Beginning, intermediate and advanced?
NL: Yeah it is like 8 to 11 in the morning it is the really young kids then you get the older ones.
JM: How come you are here today?
NL: It does not start until the 27th because kids are just getting out of school. So they get about a week or so before this starts.
JM: It starts on the 27th of June and goes to when?
NL: I think it is five weeks, I am pretty sure.
JM: Do you have a supervisor?
NL: Yes Lisa McAuliffe (See tape #170 Lisa McAuliffe)
JM: How many kids in your group?
NL: There are probably 20 in each group, but some years it is more or less. It just depends.
JM; How about instructors?
NL: I think there are 6 instructors, maybe 5. I am not sure how many this year.
JM: Do you actually teach or do you coach or do you just play?
NL: I coach a little bit, but we have one older kid who is out of college, Tyler Scarpa who is in charge. So we will hit balls to the kids. I will give advice sometimes because I am a pretty good tennis player. He does the coaching and we are just there to hit balls and help out. We take care of the kids and make sure that they are not doing anything they are not supposed to.
JM: How often do you get paid?
NL: We get three paychecks; one after the first week, but we don’t get it until two weeks in and then we get one after 4 weeks and one at the end.
JM: Do you get minimum wage?
JM: Which is $7 something per hour?
JM: Have you been in this program before.
NL: Yes for 3 years, this will be my third year.
JM: Do you like the program?
NL: Yeah it is a lot of fun.
NL: The other instructors are my friends and I enjoy playing with the kids. At the end we always play a game where you can join in, especially the advanced group. They are good tennis players so you can play with them and it is a lot of fun.
JM: Wonderful! Is there anything that you would like to add to this before we close?
JM: Thank you so much Nathan.