Opening Days kicked off Aug. 28, when 97 students arrived on campus for proctor training. The theme of this year's three-day retreat, Once a Bearcat Always a Bearcat, a Family, and Loved, centered on teaching upper mids and seniors to build a community of safety, trust, belonging, and inclusion in their dorms, said Heather Perrenoud P’22, dean of residential life and instructor in math.
Following the retreat, another wave of students, including varsity athletes, mathletes, and new student orientation leaders, settled into campus, followed by new and returning students, bringing the total student population, including those on exchange programs, to 603, including 111 preps.
Over the Labor Day weekend, students participated in a variety of bonding activities, including class dean dinners, advisory BBQs, and Matriculation — a School tradition that dates back to 2001. During the ceremony, preps and new students stood in front of the community and announced their name, class year, and their hometown and state, and signed their names in a hard-covered book.
In his address at Convocation on Sept. 3, Head of School Craig Bradley stressed the importance of developing healthy habits and being mindful and appreciative of Hotchkiss’s diverse community.
“The diversity of this community is one of our great strengths,” he said. “It adds immeasurably to the quality of learning and growth each of us experiences. For that learning experience to occur, each of us needs to feel genuinely, affirmatively included.”
“To the newcomers, you are most warmly welcome to this community of learners and I want you to know that your ideas, your perspectives, and you and your families are welcomed here. I want you to feel validated for being who you are and for contributing your ideas, your creativity, your energy, and your good will.”
School Presidents Luke Kalaydijian ’20 and Maggie Ottenbreit ’20 also addressed community, inspiring students to be passionate year round.
“This energy we’ve had for the past few days is commonly known “Camp Hotchkiss,” said Kalaydijian. “It’s the period where students are happy to be back and even more excited because they have no work to do. It’s one of the best times to be on campus,” said Kalaydijian. But with classes, sports, clubs, homework, and other activities the “Camp Hotchkiss” vibe might fade, he stressed.
“So, we’re going to ask you to stay passionate,” Kalaydijian said.
“We want this to be the word of the year,” added Ottenbreit.
“We want you, individually, and collectively as an entire school community, to act on that desire. We’re fortunate to be at Hotchkiss because this school gives us the opportunity and resources to pursue our passions.”