More than 650 guests, including parents, extended family, guardians and family friends, converged for the action-packed Family Days on Oct. 6 and 7. In spite of predictions, Friday was balmy and rain-free, perfect for touring the campus amidst the colors of mid-autumn.
The day kicked off with registration and breakfast, followed by numerous opportunities to get a firsthand view of what’s happening in classes at all levels. In some classes, visitors sat at the periphery and observed a typical day in class. In others, they got in on the action. In Jamie Rourke’s Foundations in Visual Arts class, families worked on charcoal still lifes alongside students (with impressive results). In Juliana Cruz Martinez’s Spanish class, guests were included in the immersive conversation around the tasks planned for that day’s classwork.
Music and performances abounded on Friday. The afternoon schedule included a concert by music teacher Craig Sandford on the McRoberts Carillon and an honors recital that featured performances by the Select Treble Ensemble, the NMH Singers, and the chamber orchestra. A lively performing arts preview concert was also a hit with the packed audience.
Earlier in the day, Yulan O, father of clarinetist Fan Yee "Ivan" O ’25, said the concert was one of the things he was looking forward to most. “To be honest, I love it here,” he said. “We are going to participate in that concert with joy.”
Like O, who had journeyed from Shanghai, many families traversed the country or traveled internationally to participate in Family Days. For parent Guila Curley and grandparent Marjorie Irwin, both of New Mexico, it was their first time on campus to visit Deshayne Michael Curley ’24, and Niayla Raina Curley ’26.
Though she was a little worn out from all the activity, Curley said she appreciated having events compacted so their family could have some time together off-campus as well. Additionally, she said, she really enjoyed seeing her kids in their element. “To be here and see them in class and interacting with their friends in the dining hall is really cool.”
Curley also appreciated the update on her daughter’s upcoming class trip to Brazil and the opportunity to check in on where her son is in the college counseling process.
Information sessions about college counseling and travel programs were well-attended and offered parents a deeper understanding of what these programs offer students.
In his head of school report and reflection, Brian Hargrove discussed the value of enjoying the privilege and “great gift” of learning in NMH’s unique community while remaining engaged with the broader community and culture. “We are committed to shaping young people who are then going to go out there and serve and lead,” he said. Hargrove reflected on the school’’ founding mission, which, he emphasized, was in part “an opportunity that came with a responsibility.”
After Friday’s dinner at Alumni Hall, NMH hosted a reception for families of students of color. Lorraine “Yaya” Bolin, grandmother to Mekaila “Mimi” Cuevas '27, enjoyed a cozy chair, resting after walking 12,000 steps that day. She said she was happy to see her granddaughter thriving socially, academically, and on her rowing team. “She loves it,” Bolin said.
A party spirit was in the air as the day wrapped up with families relaxing around a collection of fire pits. Food trucks, twinkle lights, music, and a popcorn machine helped to round out the atmosphere.
While umbrellas were at the ready on Saturday, rain held off once again. Some families enjoyed time with Hargrove at a "Breakfast with Brian" event, while alumni parents had breakfast together in Alumni Hall. There was a session on college athletics recruiting, as well as a college financial aid 101 session. Though some games were canceled due to the threat of rain, soccer, field hockey, and volleyball all took place. A traveling tailgate delivered coffee, snacks, and cowbells to the spectators.
A number of families lingered in the family lounge on Saturday to enjoy the Oklahoma/Texas college football game. Students hurried to finish their NMH obligations before enjoying the rest of the long weekend.
Feedback about Family Days was enthusiastic. Aly Baze ’27 had four members of her family visit from San Francisco and was excited to show them a little of everything. “I just finished a class in Gilder, so we've just been walking around the loop,” she said. “And I'm going to show them my dorm room, and then later when I walk down to my D block class, I'm going to show them the library, Bev, and the RAC.”
Baze’s grandparent, Brian Goldby of San Francisco, said he was impressed with the campus and especially appreciated having the opportunity to observe classes. “I love the goals that have been set in the two classes we visited,” he said. “We've seen French and algebra, and the amount of energy that goes into the teaching, plus just the level of interactivity by the students here are very impressive.”