Over Family Weekend, on October 6 and 7, 2023, Concord Academy welcomed nearly 600 guests to campus. The record turnout was “evidence of a fully engaged community,” said Head of School Henry Fairfax as he warmly welcomed parents and guardians on Friday morning in the Elizabeth B. Hall Chapel. It’s where the community gathers most days to listen to a single senior give a chapel talk, Fairfax said, remarking on CA’s distinctive trust in students to shape their learning experience. He praised the “great energy and enthusiasm” of student leaders from the class of 2024 for having set “an inspirational tone” for the faculty and staff.
Nicole Koch P’24, CA Parents president, also welcomed parents and guardians. She said she hoped they would make the most of the chance “to get proximity to our students’ experiences, to see the amazing teaching and learning that happens on this campus every day.”
Over the following day and a half, from community life to classes, arts, and athletics, CA families got a firsthand taste of what it’s like to be a CA student. With their children, they attended academic courses on a modified schedule and ate dinner in the Stu-Fac. Parents and guardians also met with their students’ advisors, sat in on music, theater, and dance rehearsals, and attended fall team sports games. Many benefited from presentations about the academic experience, boarding life, and the college counseling process.
At a meeting for families of juniors, Peter Boskey, assistant director of college counseling, reminded parents that the process officially begins January 7; a weekly seminar throughout the spring will help prepare students as they explore options. He also noted that college counselors will meet individually with students and their advisors in the winter; the inclusion of advisors in the process is an anomaly among independent school peers—one that helps counselors understand students’ priorities, he said. Boskey also pointed to a throughline of the CA experience: the focus on process over outcome. “We protect the high school experience … we allow students the space to make mistakes.” College counseling sessions were also available to parents and guardians of students in other years.
The weekend also included other gatherings, among them a dessert social for parents, a luncheon for international families, and a reception for families of color.
On Saturday, each academic department offered an opportunity to meet faculty and ask questions about the curriculum, requirements, and goals.
Fairfax said he recognized that the weekend was meaningful because of the smiles of students and visitors. “Our superpower in teaching and learning shined as bright as those smiles,” he said.