As parents poured onto campus for the annual Parents’ Weekend, this year events included a preregistering component, afternoon daycare for younger siblings and the surprise introduction of two “Chase” Community and Multicultural Development (CAMD) fellows during an All School Meeting.
The weekend also gave parents the opportunity to experience Andover through their children’s eyes, attending classes, meeting teachers and sitting in on an All School Meeting.
The Office of Alumni Relations (OAR) oversees the planning for Parents’ Weekend, in particular, the logistics for the weekend. The Office also coordinates with faculty members, the Paresky Commons staff, Public Safety, the Student Activities Office and the Office of Physical Plant (OPP) to make the weekend possible.
According to Deborah Murphy, Director of Alumni Affairs, OAR did not make any major changes to the Parent’s Weekend schedule this year, though there were smaller adjustments.
Parent registration was moved to the Underwood Room this year, and parents had to “pre-register” for Parent’s Weekend by signing up for meals, providing Paresky Commons with more accurate headcounts for meals. The Student Activities Office and the Blue Key Heads also hosted a childcare program for the younger siblings of students.
This year, the Student Activities Office also introduced a children’s program to accommodate students’ siblings, while parents were visiting classes on Saturday morning. Chris Capano, Director of Student Activities, and Blue Keys hosted games, crafts and snacks for students and their siblings in the Den.
Victoria Chen, younger sister of Rosalyn Chen ’14, said “I got [my] face [painted] by one of [Rosalyn’s] friends. She drew me a unicorn. I also did some coloring and we watched Happy Feet… They serve good food.”
Carson Teitler, younger brother of Mayze Teitler ’14, said “The best part [of Parents’ Weekend] was definitely seeing Mayze because I miss her a lot.”
According to Michael Giampa, Director of Operations for Aramark, Paresky Commons had numerous meetings with the Office of Alumni Affairs and the administration to develop a plan for Parent’s Weekend, including menus and meal locations.
The Aramark team worked to prepare Commons for the ACT tests on Saturday morning and then relocate breakfast, lunch and dinner to the Smith Center. On Saturday evening, the Aramark team again moved all the kitchen supplies back to Commons in preparation for the Sunday morning Jazz brunch, said Giampa.
As part of the Parents’ Weekend program, parents shadowed their children’s classes in the morning, with each period lasting 20 minutes.
Some parents said they enjoyed the opportunity to meet with teachers and learn about their children’s curriculum.
Veena Jayam, mother of Meghana Jayam ’14, said, “We came all the way from Saudi Arabia because we were told [Parent’s Weekend] was the best time to meet teachers and parents. Math class was amazing, the way [the teacher] explained how the curriculum was structured. English class was also good. We are glad we made it so that we can know exactly what she is going through,” Veena Jayam continued.
David Cescon, father of James Cescon ’12, said “[The abbreviated schedule] is a fantastic way for [us] to, in a short amount of time, get a feel for the classes that our son is taking, meet his teachers for the first time and hear about the courses. I think it’s wonderful and it’s given us new perspective on what Andover’s all about and what the teachers are all about.”
“All the teachers are fantastic. I’m jealous, I wish I could come here,” said Shirley Cescon, mother of James Cescon ’12.
“All the classes I’ve been to the teachers [have been] great,” said Ebenezer Essuman, father of Nana Essuman ’14. “My favorite class was math.”
Following classes, parents walked to the Chapel for an “All School Meeting” where Susan Howell, President of Parents of Students of Phillips Academy (PSPA), presented a donation from PSPA to the CAMD Scholar Program in Chase’s honor, establishing two annual Chase CAMD scholarships that will be awarded to students beginning next year.
In addition to attending administrative and academic programs, parents enjoyed a variety of events on campus, including student concerts and athletic competitions.
The Academy Symphony, the Academy Concert Band, Chamber Orchestras, Jazz Band, Fidelio Society, the Academy Chorus gave musical performances throughout the weekend.
Open houses allowed parents to explore the CAMD, Summer Opportunities and Interim Year Office and the School Year Abroad (SYA) program.
Students and parents also attended Grasshopper Night, a student-produced variety show held on Friday and Saturday evening.
Student groups including the Yorkies, Phillips Academy’s all-male a cappella group, Azure, PA’s all-female a cappella group, Blue Strut, PA’s jazz dance group, Hypnotiq, PA’s hip-hop dance group, gave four energetic performances on Friday and Saturday night.
“My favorite part [of the weekend] was Grasshopper Night because all the acts were amazing, everybody was hilarious and the singers were excellent,” said Mayze Teitler ’14.
Both parents and students enjoyed the weekend overall.
Tasfia Khan ’14 said, “It’s really nice to have my parents come here. I’ve been looking forward to this since the beginning of the year.”
Arnold Chacon, father of Jonathan Chacon ’14 and Helen Chacon ’05, who visited from Guatemala, said, “This has been a very well organized and informational weekend for parents. I think there have been some additional new changes and that’s always welcome but the basics are still there.”
“[My daughter’s] been here fours years, so this is my fourth time [at Parents’ Weekend] and it’s really great to see students grow up, to get to know the teachers and especially to see the Blue Keys wearing skirts,” said Carol Barash, mother of Eliana Kwartler ’12. “My favorite thing is always the experiments in science class… and this year we did physics.”
Diane Shen, mother of Nikki Shen ’12, said that Parents’ Weekend has remained relatively similar over the years. “But knowing that this is the last one, this is a bit more nostalgic,” added Shen.