Rook Arrival Day, page two: Norwich University emagazine

Soon, she was back among a swarm of rooks in Shapiro, trying to switch T-shirts and pants before the scheduled lunch at 10:30. Meanwhile her mom, Sharon Haynes, was crying again.

“The summer’s over and she’ll be starting her new life and she won’t be coming home again,” said Haynes, weeping from the moment they arrived on the Northfield, Vt., campus.

Forty-eight hours earlier, life for Smith, like that of most of the 522 rooks in the Class of 2013—one of the largest groups in Norwich’s 190-year history, was very different. She wore her jet-black hair blown-out with an electric-blue sweater and makeup at her home near the Canadian border. Originally from the Bronx, the tall and friendly student has lived in Vermont with her mom and retired carpenter Bob Baker for nine years.

Smith pointed to the view of Jay Peak ski resort while Haynes and Baker wandered among the small garden of corn and cucumbers. Inside, an air conditioner rattled as she showed off her gear for Norwich, organized from a list made four months earlier and neatly packed and sealed in bags. Her room, however, was a maelstrom of clothes, handbags, a folded treadmill and old mementos. continue

Smith shows the boots she will be wearing as a rook as she prepares for Rook Arrival Day at her home in North Troy, Vt.

Smith shows the boots she will be wearing for training as she prepares for Rook Arrival Day at her home in North Troy, Vt.