Keith and Ken Matanachai Reflect on Winter Experience on Campus


Keith Matanachai ’22

Claire Wang ’21, Darina Huang ’23, Loup Wang ’23, Ken Matanachai ’24, Keith Matanachai ’22 (from left to right).

Dear Hotchkiss Community,

Who would have thought that living alone at Hotchkiss for three months would be relatively fun and eventful? As many of you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult and dangerous for people to travel overseas. When we decided to stay on campus over the winter break, rather than return to our homes, we initially thought that it would be boring and isolating. Almost all our friends said they pitied our situation. Nevertheless, staying here during the winter holidays was very calm, peaceful, and overall a great experience for us.

At the beginning of the break, we joined Claire Wang ’21, Loup Wang ’23, and Darina Huang ’23 in two different faculty apartments. As a result, we spent most of our time living together, which was a great bonding experience. Because the dining hall was closed, we had to cook our own meals. Every week, the dean on duty took us to the grocery store to stock up on supplies. This was new to us, as we had not typically shopped and cooked all by ourselves in the past. Without much prior knowledge about cooking, we had to adapt by learning new recipes and experimenting with ingredients. Additionally, we had daily check-ins with counselors who were nice to talk to and tended to our needs. 

Aside from chaperoning trips to the grocery store, many faculty members were kind enough to offer activities to help pass time. One of our most memorable experiences was building our own electric guitars in the EFX lab. With the help of Mr. Fenton and Mr. Boone, we successfully constructed playable guitars. During this project, we learned how to use the tools in the lab and a great deal about electric guitars. After many days of planning, we were also able to go skiing at a nearby mountain, which was a highlight of the break. Many faculty members also invited us to celebrate holidays such as Thanksgiving with them, providing us with delicious food and fun conversations. Others lifted our holiday spirits by lending us Christmas decorations and sleds.

Although we would much rather have spent the break with our family, we could not have asked for a better time here. We shared many great memories and got to explore Hotchkiss in a new way. Our time here over the break was well-spent, and we will certainly never forget it. 

For the faculty members who are reading this, we would like to thank all of you for making this experience possible. Special thanks to Dr. Mardon, Mr. Davis, Ms. McClure, Mr. McKibben, Mr. Thompson, Ms. Hsia, Mr. Vish, Mrs. Vish, Dr. Taneja, Dr. Liu, Dr. Larson, Mr. Hall, Mr. Lang, Mrs. Sisk, Mr. Burchfield, Ms. von Jess, Mrs. Burchfield, Mr. Knapp, Mr. Fenton, Mr. Boone, Mr. Smith, Ms. Chandler, Mrs. Crain, all the health center staff, and the Hotchkiss management team. Sorry if we missed any names!

See you around on campus,

Ken and Keith Matanachai