Parents Weekend Takes the Circle


Jon Chase photo

Groton School cross country v. Rivers, Milton, Lawrence Academy. Jon Chase photo, From the CV Files

On October 21st, families from around the globe gather on the Circle for Parents Weekend: new and returning parents alike come to meet with teachers, advisors, dorm heads, and other parents. They also have the opportunity to attend several events, including music recitals, athletic games, and faculty presentations. Parents Weekend helps to acquaint parents, who often live far away from the school, with the faculty members who teach, coach, and advise their children.

Starting Friday morning, families can pick up their registration packets and meet fellow parents in the Sackett Forum in the Schoolhouse. International families and faculty can also join the International Parent Luncheon at the Headmaster’s House. Teachers of all subjects offer ten-minute meetings in which parents can meet them and discuss their children’s performance in class.

Parents Weekend this year is followed immediately by Skip Day, a day for students to catch up on work and sleep, making this essentially a three-day weekend. Students are delighted by this general reprieve from work  –– Westby Caspersen ‘17 says, “Parents Weekend is a really chill time to just sleep and see my family.” Teachers, too, enjoy the weekend. Science Teacher Brian Abrams values Parents Weekend for its capability to unite the community: “ I think that it’s a great thing that the school does, and I think it’s also great for the school in terms of community building, bringing everybody together like that. In terms of the bigger picture in the school year, it’s one of the bigger events that I look forward to… It’s fun to have everybody here: it just really creates this great sense of unity and community.”

In addition to parent-teacher conferences, parents have a wide range of lectures and discussions they can attend. On Friday, Director of Wellness and Wellness Counseling Sheila Fritz-Ellis will hold a session entitled “Perfectionism: Maladaptive vs. Adaptive.” On Saturday, there will be two presentations: one on Groton’s Global Education program, led by math teacher and Director of Global Education Nishad Das; and one on Groton’s use of technology, led by Chief Technology Officer Elizabeth Preston.

On Saturday, families can watch an open theater rehearsal in the Campbell Performing Arts Center. Headmaster Temba Maqubela will speak to parents in the Forum. Athletes in all sports will compete against various other schools in the afternoon. In the evening, the yearly Parents Weekend Concert, at which many of the school’s musical organizations, including chamber music groups and the School’s two acapella groups, will perform. Before departing on Sunday, families are welcome to join in Morning Prayer service at St. John’s Chapel or to go into town for Catholic mass.

Wife of Headmaster Temba Maqubela and English Teacher Vuyelwa Maqubela believes that there are significant benefits of having Parents Weekend early in the school year: “I enjoy parent-teacher conferences as I get to meet the parents early on and establish a connection with them,” she explains. “The business of teaching is most effective when the school, the teachers, and the parents are partners. Having conferences in October encourages me to take a careful look at the student’s’ strengths and areas of growth early so that I can share any outliers with his or her parents, coming up with an action plan early if necessary.”

     The Groton community welcomes both new and veteran families to the Circle.