The Rise of Shea Snacks

Hidden in the corner of Dean of Students Ms. Michelle Shea’s office, she has drawers full of scrumptious snacks that students take every day.

David Lai, Staff Writer

Ryan Arrowsmith (‘23) (left) and Chase Landa (‘23) (right) hold a wide variety of snacks from the Dean of Students Ms. Michelle Shea’s office. Ryan said, “They are free and they are quick and there are a lot of them.” Chase added, “It’s quick and convenient, and she’s got a nice collection of snacks.” (David)
Novalyne Petreikis (‘23), Tara Sugavanam (‘23), and Niamh Malhotra (‘23) are all smiles as they have snacks from Dean of Students Ms. Michelle Shea’s office to keep their stomachs full for a while.

A restaurant that is a hidden gem is usually in an alleyway. Similarly, the snacks in Dean of Students Ms. Michelle Shea’s office are obscured in a couple of drawers. With a wide variety of snacks, from Doritos to Nature Valley bars, no wonder that floods of students end up in her office for snacks daily. 

Ms. Shea started putting snacks in her office when she became Dean. Ms. Shea said that given her job’s responsibility for discipline, it is “very easy for discipline work to create real distance between students and the person in that role.” In light of this, Ms. Shea said, “I wanted a way of essentially bribing students to come and have lots of interactions with me that don’t have anything to do with being in trouble.” 

Even students agreed with what Ms. Shea said. Chloe Chereque (‘26) said, “Ms. Shea feels more accessible because everyone sees her as a scary figure because she gets you in trouble. Having her have food in there is great.” Additionally, Riley Ross (‘26) said, “I would have never gone into there without wanting to go in here for snacks.”

Moreover, students have built meaningful relationships with Ms. Shea. She said, “I think that there are students that I might not interact with over the course of the day if not for that. Now I do interact with them in other ways and other spaces, I know their names, and I force them to interact with me.” Likewise, from a student’s perspective, Chloe said, “We knew of her but now she knows who I am, she knows of me more now, ” and Grace Dempsey (‘26) concurred. 

Students like Elke Inglish (‘28), Giles Beamer (‘26), James O’Brien (‘26), and Riley didn’t know Ms. Shea too well besides hearing her voice when she gave speeches or seeing her around campus. But once they started to go more often to Ms. Shea’s office for snacks they felt the student-administrative relationship strengthen. James said, “Over the course of the year it’s been better to talk to her while I am in there, sometimes if she has time we sit down, [and] if she is leaving, we just grab a snack and have a little conversation.” He also said that Ms. Shea gives them advice.

Many students have felt that it is an easy way to fuel up for the upcoming day. No matter what time of the day, it is a simple way to grab a snack on the go. Chloe said,  “A lot of times during lunch, it is super hectic you can’t get food or you get to lunch late for a certain reason, or start your day when you are hungry.”  Furthermore, Grace said, “I feel like sometimes during my free periods it’s always nice to just grab a snack.”  

In addition, Elke said, “I stay really late after school sometimes because I have activities that I can walk to… I need snacks because I get hungry from time to time.” Both Giles and Riley said that the snacks in her office are better than the ones at milk break. 

Students coming in for snacks has made Ms. Shea feel great. She said, “I’m glad they have a snack, congratulations on your nice snack.” Sanjeevni Vaidya (‘28) said that she is “thankful because there is someone who has a snack. [It is also] fun because it’s a really small activity you can do with your friends.” Over and above that, Giles said that Ms. Shea’s office has a good atmosphere since “Ms. Shea always says hi to everyone when you come in and tries to have a conversation with everyone that’s in there.” James also said that it’s a “good feeling to just have someone on campus you could talk to, [I feel] welcomed, [and] nice.”

Many funny stories and interactions have happened due to students going into Ms. Shea’s office for snacks. On this topic, Ms. Shea said, “I know that I have some repeat performers in here and those conversations get funny.” She also said that when students were preparing for the play Working “some of the actors in Working would come in here before rehearsal and do a little numbers while they ate some snacks… I found that quite hilarious.” Chloe, “Every time we go in there, she[Ms. Shea] is always wearing something out of uniform, so every time we go in, she has to hide the fact that she’s wearing a non-uniform sweatshirt so she doesn’t have to get in trouble.”

Students told some more funny stories involving Ms. Shea. James said, “She told us about how this one kid she was doing a disciplinary meeting for, and his mom was like you can’t get him in trouble you will ruin his beatboxing career.” Riley said that one time when she was in Ms. Shea’s office with her friend, her friend passed her a bag of goldfish but unfortunately, the bag spilled all over Riley.

Beware, Ms. Shea said, “The only thing that I ask is that students not enter the office when I am not in there. That is because there are sometimes confidential documents or notes that need to remain confidential.” In the end, don’t be shy: come in for snacks.