Totino-Grace High School opens on-site student dormitory

In September, Totino-Grace High School began offering room and board to international and domestic students.

Juniors Calisto Zhang and Avelyn Lee play foosball in the recreation room in the Totino-Grace residence hall. (Sun Focus staff photo by Sam Lenhart)
Juniors Calisto Zhang and Avelyn Lee play foosball in the recreation room in the Totino-Grace residence hall. (Sun Focus staff photo by Sam Lenhart)

In partnership with the Cambridge Institute of International Education, the Catholic high school is the first in St. Paul and Minneapolis to offer a boarding option.
“We didn’t even know we were going to be doing this until May, but so far it has been successful,” said Director of Enrollment and International Students Shari Nichols.

Currently, there are six international students living on campus and 15 attending Totino-Grace.

“We plan on adding a few more students every year,” said Nicholes. “We have one domestic student living in rural Minnesota thinking about the boarding option.”

Individual rooms in the Totino Grace residence hall include two loft beds, two desks, a sink, mirror and storage space. (Sun Focus staff photo by Sam Lenhart)
Individual rooms in the Totino Grace residence hall include two loft beds, two desks, a sink, mirror and storage space. (Sun Focus staff photo by Sam Lenhart)

The 20-room residence hall, which originally opened to house the Sisters of Notre Dame in the 1960s, is equipped with all the comforts of home including a kitchen, laundry room, work spaces, recreation rooms, lounges and a courtyard. Individual rooms house two, and rooms include loft beds, desks, a sink, mirror and storage space.

“They provide us with everything we need,” said junior Calisto Zhang.

On-site dormitory coordinators manage the facility and serve as advisors to watch over the students, and although the students are living on-campus, they have all the after school freedoms a student living off-campus does.

“As long as we tell someone where we are going and sign out we can do whatever we want,” said Totino-Grace ambassador and junior Avelyn Lee. “My favorite part of living in the dorms is that I get to sleep in a little longer before class. It is also nice because we don’t have to adapt to a host family – if I’m hungry, I eat.”
Lee also said that living on-campus has given her the opportunity to easily participate in extracurricular activities.

“When I was living with a host family, it was hard for them to get me to school at night or on the weekends,” she said. “Now, I just live here.”

Tuition, room and board costs approximately $40,000 per year with a portion of the revenue going towards students who otherwise would not be able to attend Totino-Grace.

“It is like living with your brothers and sisters,” said Zhang.

Contact Sam Lenhart at [email protected]