Students and Faculty Welcome Parents

While the weather may be getting colder, the atmosphere on campus will warm as classrooms fill with the chatter of both students and their parents. Today and tomorrow, parents are turning the clock back to their high school years by participating in classes and meeting teachers during the annual Parents Weekend. 

Planning for this year’s event began last March, while students and parents focused on summer break. From choosing a date to finalizing class schedules for the guests, the organization process for the weekend involved the efforts of the communications office, the deans, the athletics department, and dining services, among many others. Ms. Sara Chiarenza, assistant to the dean of faculty, said, “All the different departments take part in making sure that Parents Weekend has the appropriate programming and opportunities for parents to get a good feel of what’s happening on campus.”

While many parents arrived in Lakeville last night and attended a reception in the Mars Athletic Center, the weekend officially began this morning when Mr. Craig Bradley, head of school, addressed parents in Elfers Hall. For the remainder of the day, parents attended four classes with their children, experiencing lively discussions about Romanticism in Upper mid Humanities, learning about real-life applications of the ideal gas laws in Prep science, exploring the derivatives of exponential functions in calculus, or hearing their children talk about conserving the environment in Spanish. 

Additionally, parents were invited to attend dance, orchestra, choir, and drama performances in Elfers Hall. Student actors performed a preview scene from Runaways, the upcoming fall mainstage production, and members of The Hotchkiss Choir sang Ave Verum Corpus with accompaniment by The Hotchkiss Orchestra. Following the performances, students and their families shared lunch.

Tonight, parents will participate in a wide range of their own extra-curricular activities. Aside from meeting teachers, Senior parents will speak with college advisors while others will attend a college information meeting and a financial aid literacy session. During athletic practices for the students, parents will have the opportunity to learn more about the Senior parent project, while international families will enjoy tea together in Harris House. In the evening, Girls Varsity Soccer will play against Choate Rosemary Hall on Sprole Field, and families of color will gather for dessert in the Faculty Room.

Teachers will provide additional time tomorrow for parent conferences, and Mr. David Thompson, Director of International Programs, will present information on several travel programs offered throughout the year. This year’s offerings include a Québec immersion trip for 300-level French students in January, a marine biology exploration in Massachusetts over March break, and a trip to Chile to see a full solar eclipse in June. Select sports teams will also travel this year, including a boys basketball trip to compete in Belgium, Germany, Holland, and France over March break and a boys and girls soccer trip to Spain in June. While numerous options are available to students through the school, Mr. Thompson is also able to help arrange travel with other programs upon student request.

Parents can also attend a presentation on taking a gap year if their children are thinking of delaying college, a discussion about the new Dining Hall design plan, and a meeting with their children’s class deans. 

Finally, before students depart for a three-day holiday, they will compete in athletic games across campus while their parents cheer them on. Students who remain on campus for the weekend can participate in special activities, which have included movie screenings and trips to Great Barrington in the past.

Parents Weekend is an opportunity for parents to meet teachers, as well as a chance for the school to share a glimpse of community life. Mr. Bradley said, “Our work of educating Hotchkiss students is essentially a partnership between the school and families, and parents are a very, very important part of that. Obviously, the relationship between the teachers and the parents is a critical part of that. Parents Weekend helps us serve students well with those interactions.”