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Alumni Highlight: Lucas Flood  July 27, 2023

In any season of the year here in Connecticut, WCS staff member, Lucas Flood can be found with shorts, a great hairstyle, and a smile, walking around campus. Lucas uniquely understands the students at Waterford Country School. He can anticipate when a child in his group is starting to ramp up with frustration, he can quietly and powerfully move in an instant to stop a young student from running into a danger. He is a WCS success story.

10-year-old Lucas came to Waterford Country School in 4th grade after several stints at area public schools. When they first met with Sharon Butcher, WCS School Principal, Lucas says his parents were “smitten.” There was a “whole different vibe” here that they just had to try for their son. While Lucas attended Waterford Country School as a day student, there was still a gap between when school ended to when his working parents were home at 6:30pm. For many children, this gap of time after school and before dinner is a tough time of the day, without structure. To accommodate Lucas, WCS developed an Afterschool Program that inevitably helped stabilize his household.

Lucas remembers being terrified of some of the animals on the farm at first. After 6 months of working with Linda and the mini horses, walking them became a highlight of his day. He recounts memories of Eclipse the mini horse and his half-brother, Hot Wheels. There were some adventures he had with staff and these horses that make him laugh to this day. He recognized that “his energy around school changed a lot.”

Lucas continued his education at WCS all the way through middle and high school until he graduated in 2014. From 2012 to 2014, he was an intern at Camp Cuheca summer camp and was promoted to Lead Counselor in Training. He went to Thames Academy at Mitchell College, got an associate’s degree, then transferred to Eastern CT State University and received his bachelor’s degree. Lucas still found time to come back to Camp Cuheca that summer as a staff Camp Counselor. “Camp is my favorite place to be, there is different energy there…and I love Tina.” He says being a former WCS student helps him to read them because “I know what they are going through.” Lucas made such great relationships with staff while at WCS, he recounts the stories of Nancy, Ron, Mary and many more who impacted him.

He also made best friends that he has watched grow and advocate for themselves. He and his best friend, James, come back for as many WCS events as they can…still finding their place to belong. He can see the difference in being a student before Cornell’s CARE Model was adopted in 2010 and after. “It’s all about the relationships,” he says and it’s “so much better for staff and kids.”

In 2022, Lucas was hired as a full-time staff member: an Experiential Education Instructor during the school year and a Summer Camp Counselor in the summer. He is a trained Ropes Course Facilitator, leading summer campers through the Challenge Ropes Course.

He has set a personal goal to get to a healthier weight by the end of the summer so he can get to experience the zipline. He has a beautiful story and his presence on our campus as an alumnus and a member of our core staff makes an incredible difference to the children we serve.

“I’m proof that being a WCS kid doesn’t mean you can’t amount to what you want to be.”