Here's the photo that gave Colton Boesch, right, instant minor celebrity status in his first-year Saint Michael's residence hall that now is home to the "knight" in the center of this image being held up by Orientation leaders on Move-In Day.
To smooth the normally daunting transition into first-year college life, Colton Boesch ’21 of Middletown, RI, has discovered there’s nothing like living alongside one’s own personal dauntless knight in shining armor.
Last Thursday Boesch moved into Saint Michael’s College’s Lyons Hall Room 107, where he now shares quarters with a conventional human roommate along with a 4.5-foot-tall suit of tin armor from his parents’ basement – an entity he has dubbed “Mike the Seasonal Knight,” because of the series of headgear, representing changing holidays and seasons, with which he plans to adorn his “Mike,” posted at the end of his bed.
Boesch is outgoing and social, but so far, “Mike” might be the most popular resident of the room. “My roommate loves it, too, and whenever we leave the door open, people will take a few steps back as they walk by, and say, “Hey! You have a Knight in your room!’” he said. “Everyone loves him.”
The knight’s owner was eager to explain how he came to bring such a novelty, which landed him immediate attention upon arrival on Move-In Day from both Orientation Leaders and fellow new students:
“When my parents were married about 23 years ago one of their friends apparently made a gift of this ‘knight,’ for whatever reason, and it has been sitting in the corner of our basement since there never was any where to put it,” he said. “When I was little, I thought it was the coolest thing, but when I got older it became ‘that creepy knight that’s in the corner of our basement.’”
"Now, he’s Mike the Knight,” he continued -- “I put my St. Mike’s hat on him at first and it’s gone from there with the hats. Me and my mom came up with idea that he should have a hat for every season, so first it might be a Christopher Columbus-type hat, then a Thanksgiving headband with a turkey on top … and we have a Christmas top hat that looks like a chimney with Santa’s legs sticking out."
Boesch’s instant celebrity only grew once a photo from his Move-In arrival on the quad, featuring a crowd of mugging ‘O-leaders,’ showed up on the College’s main website.
He says that after his early childhood fascination with the knight, he had virtually forgotten about the armor, but once he picked St. Mike’s to attend college, his mom asked him what the school’s mascot was. “When I told her, she said, ‘are you kidding?!’ We went down to the basement and she said “Do you want to take it to school!?’ Of course, I said yes!”
Boesch already is playing club rugby for Saint Michael’s since it was his high school sport, and he said that walking back from practices last week he was happy see the Knight in the window to welcome him back and guide him home. “You can see the back of him through the window from outside when you put the shades up,” he said.
Boesch plans to ask his parents more about the knight’s improbable origins, since neither of them attended a college associated with knights (dad a Bryant graduate, mom from Simmons)
On social media since last week several times, Boesch says, “I’ve gotten the comment asking “are you the kid from the website with the knight?’” A friend from home “tagged” him on Instagram upon seeing the website landing-page photo, which was the first time Boesch saw it. Soon after, he went to research a speech over orientation, only to see the website Home Page open on all the idle library screens, featuring him and his knight.
A noble predecessor
Alumni took interest too: Brian Cunningham ’10, currently a nurse practitioner in San Francisco, commented on Facebook that he had a similar-looking knight named “Freddy” during his student days. His former professor Declan McCabe in biology saw the comment and asked for details from Cunningham, who wrote back: “…when I was a student in my sophomore year (2007?) I received a knight as a white elephant Christmas gift and brought it up to St. Mike’s. It lived in Alumni when I was there for 2 years and then ultimately the townhouses for my senior year. I graduated in 2010, passed it on through Fire and Rescue leaders through the years and it looks like it appeared this year in public!!! If it's the same one. My family put it in the [Christmas} grab as a joke thinking no one would want it, but it was oddly appropriate.”
While now it seems Boesch’s knight is not Freddy (unless Boesch’s parents have an improbable story tracing Mike’s lineage back to Cunningham’s story), the new Lyons resident sees “oddly appropriate” connections in other directions:
“I’m going to be majoring in marketing so this worked out perfectly, just seeing the way something like this can attract attention. The knight is a big people-pleaser and draws a crowd -- and it only weighs maybe 7 pounds at the most, so you can pick him up and bring him around with you.”
As to St. Mike’s being the right college fit for him, Boesch already is entirely sold just one week in: “There’s no looking back – it’s already awesome.”