By Chelsea Edgar
On Jan. 24, Hotchkiss recognized staff and faculty members in the annual Anniversary Awards ceremony for their dedication and service. Each year, the School acknowledges service in five-year increments. This year, 20 faculty and staff members reached the five-year milestone, 13 reached 10 years, five reached 15, two reached 20, five reached 25, six reached 30, and one each reached 35 and 40 years, combining for 690 total years of service.
Two additional awards were presented: the Margot J. Hooker Award, established in 1996 and presented annually to a staff member who exemplifies the qualities of thoughtfulness, punctuality, and loyalty of longtime staff member Margot J. Hooker; and the newly dedicated Robert J. and Candice Barker Staff Recognition Award, which will be given annually to a staff member who, through personal commitment, dedication, loyalty, and willingness to go beyond the call of duty, enhances the sense of community at Hotchkiss.
This year's recipient of the Margot J. Hooker Award is Jackie Nichols, associate director of school operations. In presenting the award, Dean of Faculty Tom Drake praised her conscientiousness and her dedication to the well-being of everyone in the Hotchkiss community.
"Her finger is on the pulse of this place. She is fierce in her loyalty and belief in the School and works tirelessly to make sure that students, staff and faculty alike are being well taken care of, considered and heard," Drake said.
For Nichols, who came to Hotchkiss in 2005, the best part of working at the School is the students. "They're the reason I'm here," she said.
The first Robert J. and Candice Barker Staff Recognition Award, established with the gift of an anonymous donor and supported by Hotchkiss parents and alumni, was given to Joe O'Connor P'10, manager of campus services. Melissa Woodin, the School's controller, presented him with the award.
All members of the School community, regardless of their role, teach by the example they set of dedication and hard work. Staff members contribute enormously to the quality of the Hotchkiss experience and the overall sense of community, and we are grateful for their excellent work. Head of School Craig Bradley
"Not only is Joe a great worker, he is a caring and kind supervisor," Woodin said. "He is dedicated, hard-working, loyal, kind, and humble."
O'Connor, whose career at Hotchkiss spans three decades, said he enjoys every aspect of working here — especially the opportunity to interact with students. "I feel like I'm here for the kids."
The Barkers, both of whom were present at the award ceremony, led distinguished careers at Hotchkiss. Robert Barker taught history at the School for 39 years, holding the E. Carleton Granbery Teaching Chair for two decades, among numerous other administrative roles, including dean of dormitory life and interim dean of admission and financial aid. In 2004, he founded the Summer Portals program, serving as its director until 2010. Robert's wife, Candice Barker, joined Hotchkiss in 1988 as director of admission for Summer Programs. During her time at Hotchkiss, she also served as registrar, executive assistant to the head of school, and director of events before retiring in 2011.
"For Candy and me, the staff are the heart and soul of the School," Barker said. "They make this an extraordinary place to live, work, teach, and learn."
Head of School Craig Bradley echoed Barker's appreciation for the role of staff members in creating a strong community. "All members of the School community, regardless of their role, teach by the example they set of dedication and hard work," he said. "Staff members contribute enormously to the quality of the Hotchkiss experience and the overall sense of community, and we are grateful for their excellent work."