Growing Up on Campus: Andrea Darling '90

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Lifer Andrea Darling ’90, daughter of English teacher Clint Darling, graduated from Dartmouth College and Duke University Law School. She practiced law in a Boston firm, before leaving to raise a family.

I felt indebted to Catlin Gabel for the privilege of attending the school and felt a responsibility to earn my place. I was fortunate to accompany my dad, Clint, on a senior class camping trip to Spirit Lake and on a school trip to the south of France. I remember sitting on the lower soccer field hills watching soccer jamborees while Dad yelled “Go Blue!” long before I ever kicked a ball. I remember belting out “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” with the entire audience as I sat on Dad’s shoulders during a Cabell Center holiday concert. I became quite smitten with Catlin Gabel at a very young age.

For about 14 years, nearly everything I did and nearly all the people I knew had a connection to the school. As a result, I grew up with a strong sense of community, of how important that safety net is to allow people to take risks, learn, grow, recover from adversity, and thrive. From studying at Catlin, Dartmouth, and Duke, to lawyering in Boston, to my life now as a mother in New Jersey, I have made it a priority to recreate that profound security for myself and others by working to create a strong community.

From the top echelons of the administration, it was clear that the Dartmouth family placed a great emphasis on the education of the whole person, a familiar refrain from my life at Catlin Gabel. I credit my teachers for challenging and stimulating me in a supportive environment; nothing could have prepared me more for achieving in college.

As a graduate student in French literature at Duke, I volunteered with the Guardian ad Litem program, representing the best interests of abused and neglected children in court. I began to see that the legal system was the single most powerful motivator to help improve the desperate situations of families in need, and promptly decided to go to law school.

I live just outside of Princeton, New Jersey, with my husband, Todd Brady, and spend my time raising two boys, Alex (4) and Nicholas (2). As simplistic as it may sound, my job as a mom is the most fulfilling—and occasionally the most trying—work I have ever done. Once Nicholas begins school, I would like to practice law again, although not in the corporate world, perhaps in some capacity as a child advocate. While I will not be able to recreate my Catlin Gabel experience for my own kids, I hope to find a school that will offer the same commitment to breadth and quality of learning experiences.