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Sue Postle is leaving Benzing to work at Hillsdale High School. Emma Vinton | Col­legian

“Hi, Pasta­lamizi,” Sue Postle calls from her little apartment off the lobby of Benzing Res­i­dence.

Her burnt orange door is flung open, and a bouquet of “thank you” flowers rests on a stool: The women of Benzing have thrown her a sur­prise party to express their appre­ci­ation for her care and com­mitment as their house mom.

She’s just come in from the side lobby, which she has recently turned into a bedroom for a res­ident assistant recov­ering from surgery. While res­i­dents pass by, the Benzing house director calls to them to join in singing “Tutti Frutti” by Little Richard. The song’s key line: “I got a girl, named Sue, / She knows just what to do.”

She calls all the girls “pasta­lamizis,” which is a generic term of endearment or mild irri­tation, depending on the sit­u­ation.

“Nick­names are terms of endearment,” she says.

It’s not the only way she expresses affection. An Italian, Sue shows love to her res­i­dents by singing, laughing, crying, or dancing with them, some­times all in a moment.

Allison Duber ’17, who lived in Benzing her sophomore year, says Sue was her “mother away from home.”

“When I came back from indoor track and field nationals, she took my trophy from me and ran it around the entire dorm shouting to everyone about our women’s second place finish. She then pro­ceeded to sing, and I don’t even remember what song it was because I was laughing so hard. She is always the most excited person if you tell her any kind of good news, and she wants everyone to share in the cel­e­bration,” Duber says.

At the sur­prise party, Sue asked the girls to join her in dancing. When “Build Me Up But­tercup” came on, she stood up on a chair, air micro­phone in hand.

After the spring semester, Sue will begin working full-time at the guidance department of Hillsdale High School as a school success worker, helping inte­grate freshmen and fos­tering peer-to-peer men­torship.

“I feel like I’m leaving on a high note,” she says. “I feel like I’ve met so many great girls, awesome girls from dif­ferent walks of life.”

One of these women, senior Emma Klaserner, was an RA in the dorm her sophomore year and still gets regular meals with Sue in the dining hall.

“Her devotion to the res­i­dents of Benzing was evident in each inter­action she had with them. Regardless of where they were, Sue met them there and helped them to work through whatever they were strug­gling with without judgement,” Klaserner says. “Sue has been my greatest mentor here at Hillsdale and has given me an excellent example of what servant lead­ership is. I hope that I can emulate her com­passion in my own rela­tion­ships.”

Sue always takes time for each girl in the dorm, but she also had a mission for the res­i­dence as a whole: “to make this a home.”

A typical expe­rience for first-time vis­itors to the dorm looks some­thing like this: They push through two heavy doors, take a right, and step into the lobby. “This is so cozy!” they say. They can sit on either of two couches, several chairs, and enjoy the travel-themed artwork Sue bought and put up on the wall.

As she sits in her apartment, speckled by pops of orange from the door to a tiny clock, she remembers par­tic­i­pating in Mock Rock during the first of her five years in Benzing. She didn’t know what she was getting herself into, and even though she loves all-dorm dance parties, she never danced for Mock Rock again.

She does love parties, though. Thanks to her, Benzing events have developed a rep­u­tation (mainly within the dorm and among the men of Gal­loway) as parties with great dec­o­ra­tions and better food.

Junior Abigail Trouw­borst, a Benzing RA, says Sue knows how to have a good time.

“Sue always goes above and beyond,” Trouw­borst says. “The first time I was working with her on a dorm event, I was on duty that night till 1 a.m., and she stayed up past me and the rest of the team rear­ranging table dec­o­ra­tions because she wanted every­thing to be perfect for her girls.”

Sue says she loves the tra­di­tions she’s built in the dorm, but her best mem­ories are making popcorn and hanging out with her girls. She may be leaving, but she’ll miss these rela­tion­ships.

“It has been a priv­ilege,” she says.

Her voice catches as she looks toward the open door.