Families Reunite for the Weekend

More than 1,000 guests join the school October 10-12 for the annual Family Weekend. The weekend kicked off last night, with a reception in the Mars Athletic Center for families to gather and socialize.
This morning, Head of School Mr. Craig Bradley will address families before they join students in their classes. Afternoon and evening events include conferences with teachers, a performing arts showcase, and a dinner for students of color and their families.
Many people work hard to welcome families to campus. Mrs. Lisa Brown, director of special events and projects, said, “[The weekend] gives families insight into their students’ daily lives in and out of the classroom. In addition, it allows them to meet and connect with other families, strengthening and extending the bonds of the Hotchkiss community overall.”
This year, a new event, a dormitory feed, will take place tonight from 8:30 to 9:15 p.m. in all dorm common rooms. It will provide parents with an opportunity to connect with their children’s dormitory faculty while enjoying refreshments. Mr. Steve McKibben P’22, dean of community life, said, “It can be difficult for families to leave their children in the care of others…[so] the opportunity for families to meet the adults with whom their children are living and to whom they’ve been entrusted is important.”
The feed with dormitory faculty will also help families understand students’ experiences in the dorm. Mr. Jay Thornhill, associate director of admissions, said, “Residential life is a significant portion of the Hotchkiss experience, and it’s important that families understand…what we do as a community to promote being inclusive and welcoming.”
Keeilah Jewell ’22 said, “[Dormitory faculty are] here with you in your most vulnerable spaces, so…it’s really important that parents get to know them and establish some sort of communication with them.”
On Saturday, families will be able to meet class deans, learn about travel and experiential education programs, and continue meeting classroom teachers. This year, parents booked over 3,000 appointments with faculty members. Jewell said, “I think having that face-to-face interaction gives my parents a better gauge of how I’m actually doing.”
These meetings are also beneficial to teachers and advisors. McKibben said, “I think [Family Weekend] is a great chance for faculty and coaches to meet families. I learn a lot about students from meeting their families.”
A major change in this year’s Family Weekend is a shift in the name of the event – from “Parents’ Weekend” to “Family Weekend.” This change is part of an effort to make the weekend more inclusive and representative of the diversity of families at Hotchkiss. McKibben said, “It’s important to articulate that it is a family weekend instead of a parent’s weekend, primarily because not all families are the same. I think it’s a healthy change and a recognition of the diversity of families we have here at Hotchkiss.”
Families and other communitiy members can attend field hockey, soccer, water polo, volleyball, football, and cross-country home games on Saturday afternoon. Family Weekend will conclude after the games. Many students will spend the weekend off-campus with family or friends, while others will relax on campus.