Last Friday, Jackson Herz ’17 went to crew practice, excited to reunite with his parents later that night for the first time since he arrived on Andover’s campus in September. Little did he know that his parents had decided to surprise him at the boathouse. Besides the Crew Open House, Herz’s parents also attended various events hosted by the school during the annual Parents’ weekend, now known as Family Weekend.
Herz’s parents were joined by the family members of over 850 students, who poured onto campus last weekend for Family Weekend. The change in the name to Family Weekend was as an effort to be more inclusive of family members and guardians who sometimes attend in place of parents, according to Debby Murphy ’86, Director of Alumni Affairs.
“Andover did a fantastic job organizing [Family] Weekend. There were plenty of planned activities and meals, but it was also possible to peel off and do things just [with] our family,” said Lisa Herz, Jackson’s mother.
“It was a thrill to see our son Jackson so incredibly happy in his new surroundings. He seems to love everything about Andover. While we certainly miss him a lot, those feelings are far outweighed by what a great adjustment he has made to the school,” she continued.
This year, family members had the opportunity to participate in an excavation activity organized by the Peabody Museum. They dug on the lawn outside of Bishop Hall to look for remnants of the Samuel Phillips Mansion, which burned in a fire set by an arsonist in 1887.
Meryl Poku, mother of Rosie Poku ’17, said that she discovered nails and bricks that had once made up the foundation of the mansion. Adam Poku, sibling of Rosie Poku ’17, also helped with the dig.
“I have always wanted to learn more about an archeological dig. I have to say, the director, workers and students were super helpful. [Adam and I] both loved it… Adam is nine and this event really made him feel like he was a part of PA,” she said.
Murphy said, “This was a fun way for [family members] to be exposed to this awesome resource that we have right here on campus.”
Like previous years, family members had the opportunity to experience Andover through students’ eyes, attending classes, meeting teachers and sitting in on an All-School Meeting in the Chapel on Saturday morning.
“The classes were awesome. I really enjoyed going from building to building, seeing what my child’s day was like. And the teachers are so dynamic that it made it very enjoyable for the parents, “ said Kim Whalen, mother of Matt Whalen ’16.
Lily Augus ’16 enjoyed being able to walk her parents through her life at Andover and show them what she has been doing for the past month. “As a new student, it was the first time that my boarding school life and home life mixed,” Augus said.
Kate Augus, Lily’s mother, said, “I had a great time at PA. It helped that the weather was incredibly beautiful. I have a better understanding of how my daughter spends her days, and that’s important for a parent.”