Balloons and a bright blue banner adorned the entrance of the Oliver Wendell Holmes Library (OWHL) on October 20, welcoming families to campus for Family Weekend. Spanning the long weekend, from Friday to Monday, Family Weekend provided an opportunity for families to experience a taste of their students’ lives at Andover.
The weekend featured a plethora of events showcasing various aspects of campus life, including classroom visits, the Grasshopper talent show, music performances, parent forums, and an “All-School Meeting” for families.
Coordinating these events with campus partners, Jennifer Savino, Director of Alumni Engagement, described the intention behind the programming.
“The goal of Family Weekend is to warmly welcome families of all of our students to come to campus and see and experience where their student lives and learns. There are slight adjustments every year with Family Weekend, depending on what campus partners bring forward as interests and opportunities for our families. This year, we continued panels for each class year that [were] designed and intended to give families an inside guide to each year. We received excellent feedback on those,” wrote Savino in an email to The Phillipian.
New student Sofia Lin ’26 looked forward to reconnecting with her family. As a member of the Academy Chorus, she had the opportunity to perform in front of her parents at Saturday’s concert.
“I was most excited to see my family after a month and a half. Even with the great support system at Andover, it’s still pretty tough to be away from family for so long. As a part of the chorus, it was also great to be able to show off what we’d been working on… I would have appreciated it if the weekend were even a day longer. Me and my family traveled, so it would have been easier to have some more time,” said Lin.
During classroom visits on Saturday morning, families were able to meet their children’s teachers and experience shortened versions of classes at Andover. Michael Kuta, Head Athletic Trainer and Instructor in Athletics, commented on the importance of classroom visits.
“Our goal is to have the adults get a good sense of what their children are going through… With the classroom visits during [Family] Weekend, they absolutely get a better sense of what we try to do in the classroom and in the gym settings… [Family Weekend] is a special day, and a good opportunity for our parents to get an inside look and what their kids’ experience is,” said Kuta.
Leon Meng P’26, appreciated the opportunity to meet his son’s teachers and house counselors. Meng expressed gratitude towards the student guides who were stationed around campus during classroom visits.
“I thought it was very well organized… Because of the weather, we couldn’t go to any sports activities, but the teacher meetings were very helpful. A lot of the teachers were new, but they are very good teachers. The sessions are well managed, and the [student] guides are very helpful… It warms my heart, because you’ve got students in the rain, some of them actually really soaked through, but they’re there to guide you,” said Meng.
During her first Family Weekend at Andover, Anna Green, Teaching Fellow in History and Social Science, enjoyed interacting with her students’ families. However, she remained mindful of students whose families were not able to visit campus.
“Depending on where students are from, it can be a really big expense to come out to Andover for the weekend, so as exciting as it was to meet certain students’ families, I also recognize that there are some students for whom that wasn’t possible, and that’s okay… I also want to say that I think it was, at least from the teacher perspective, a huge success. I can’t say enough. It was just really wonderful to see campus so full, to see so many pieces of my students’ lives,” said Green.
Savino acknowledged that collaboration was crucial to the success of Family Weekend. She expressed her appreciation towards all those who worked together to make Family Weekend happen.
“This is a huge program that asks for a community lift in planning and executing a weekend with more than 1,400 family visitors. I am grateful for the people across OAR [Office of Academy Resources], OPP [Office of Physical Plant], Aramark, faculty and staff, with the excellent leadership of [Caroline Odden, Dean of Studies] in the amount of planning they orchestrate to ensure wonderful visits for our families,” wrote Savino.