A Celebration of Mr. Tom Hill

Hill by Elle Rinaldi

Reflecting on his job as an overseer of the dining hall the day before his retirement from Choate, Mr. Tom Hill said, “Every day, it astounds me how many good things I see. Sometimes I see someone stopping to help when a child drops and breaks a plate. Or I see students paying attention to other students’ needs.” He continued, “When we have exams, I try to lessen the stress in the dining hall and lighten the mood. I want people to leave Choate knowing the dining hall was a very special area to them.”

Mr. Hill retires on Tuesday, May 31. Marja van Mierlo ’18 said, “We’ll definitely miss him as a school because he keeps the dining hall in order. He’s very nice about everything. Sometimes he just comes up to you and asks you about your day.”

 

Adedamola Adeyemi ’18 described Mr. Hill as “very caring, supportive, and encouraging.”

Prior to working at Choate, Mr. Hill worked in the Connecticut Department of Developmental Services for 35 years as a recreational therapist. He recalled, “The people who I was serving were my favorite part of the job. They were primary individuals who were mentally retarded.” He continued, “My first visit to Choate was in the 1980s. I ran the regional Special Olympics, which are track and field events and swimming events for people with mental retardation, and the events were held on Choate’s track.”

His experience at Choate encouraged him to apply for a job in the Athletic Center Equipment Room. “I found out how wonderful of a community Choate is through the Special Olympics. The people that I met, the positive energy, it was all great,” he commented.

After working in the equipment room for eighteen months, Mr. Hill worked for ABM, the campus cleaning service, for one year, before returning to the athletic center to help run the fitness center. During that time, Mr. Hill was simultaneously working at the dining hall. He remarked, “I found it demanding because I had to come in here extremely early and then I would be here until 7:30 p.m. I had breaks in between but there was no place to rest. The library became that place.” He has also worked as an Assistant Director of Summer Programs.

After contributing to the Choate community for nine years, Mr. Hill and his caring, authentic personality and presence will truly be missed.

Q & A

What are your plans after Choate?

My plan is to fully retire. I wanted to leave when I could still be with my grandchildren and spend time with them, and be with my son in Utah. I hope to move to Utah. Also, I want t get involved in helping the homeless. I generally like volunteering with people who are in need of something.

What is your favorite part of your current job?

The students. I get excited coming into work every day, knowing that I’m going to be with brilliant young minds.

What is something you do on campus that is often overlooked?

At 2:45 p.m. everyday, I’m at the SAC helping with the lost and found and recording everything on the computer. We record everything that comes in — I think we have about 350 items. If it is electronic, we do everything we can to get it back to the student within 24 hours because we know they need it. Sometimes, it’s challenging because the system is locked. But the students are helpful; they help me find the owner of devices.

What is your favorite dining hall food?

Pierogi.

What is a fun fact about yourself?

I just love people.

Do you have any concluding remarks?

My footprint will not be visible, but I hope to leave happiness here with everyone. I’m also asking all the students who are still here to embrace and accept the new person who takes over my position. He won’t be a Tom Hill, but we need to accept and be patient with whomever takes over.

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