The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

Ms. Day speaks to Hockaday students as well as other students in the Dallas area as part of her role to involve Hockaday students in the community and lead them to fulfill their purpose.
Jade
A day with Ms. Day
Sarah Moskowitz and Melinda Hu May 19, 2024

How did you get your start in social impact? Day: Out of college, I decided to do a year in a program called The Jesuit Volunteer Corps. It...

Lone Star Royalty Q&A
Jade
Lone Star Royalty Q&A
Lang Cooper May 17, 2024

What initially interested you in beauty pageants? Roberts: When I was six I joined the Miss America Organization. This program is for girls...

Opinion
Branching Out During Break
Jessica Boll, Web Editor in Chief • May 16, 2024

Instead of lazily lounging by the pool this summer, taking advantage of an academic break is the best usage of the months when we don't have...

Senior Splash Day
Senior Splash Day
May 13, 2024

All Hands on Deck

All+Hands+on+Deck

Crouched around the board game “Sorry” on a November afternoon at the after-school care program “Happy Happenings,” senior Vyanka Sotelo and fourth grader Georgia Fuller wait in anticipation as Fuller rolls the dice. With this roll, Fuller wins the game and Sotelo gasps, feigning surprise and cracking a smile. “You’re younger than me, and you won?”

Job openings in “Happy Haps,” which were recently created for students like Sotelo, pave the way for stronger relationships between girls across the the Lower, Middle and Upper School divisions.

The jobs at Happy Happenings were opened up after Director of Daisy Afternoons Anne Kennedy found that there were not enough teachers to watch Lower Schoolers during the after-school care program.

“I walked into Happy Haps the first week in August, and we had so many girls that it was a bit chaotic,” Kennedy said. “I realized that we really need more sets of eyes,” she said.

Story continues below advertisement

Kennedy then contacted CFO JT Coats to ensure that the school would support hiring Upper School students to meet the program’s needs. After getting a thumbs-up from Coats, Kennedy designed a course to educate each of the student workers on the protocol for working at Happy Haps.

While there was no formal application, each girl was required to send an email to Kennedy expressing her interest in the job. The only requirements were to be U.S. citizens and fill out a Hockaday employment application.

“Each of the girls has to take a safe school course, and it is an online course for anyone who works around children,” Kennedy said.

The course includes videos that deal with learning what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior around children. Applicants are also asked to complete a background check. After meeting these requirements, Kennedy interviewed each of the prospective student workers.

Four girls—senior Vyanka Sotelo, senior Addie Walker, junior Maye McPhail and junior Kaitlyn Cerney—were hired in early November.

Walker heard about the opportunity after Director of Residence Life Meshea Matthews sent an email to boarders advertising the position, and she was hired partly due to her caring nature and her rich experiences working with younger children.

“I have a lot of personal experience working with young children since I have five siblings at home,” Walker said. “I’m used to dealing with them on a daily basis,” she said.

As a boarder, Walker was also drawn to the job by its uniqueness and convenience. “I wanted to experience having to commit to something, but I’ve never had a real job before and I don’t drive,” Walker said.

Walker’s and the rest of the student-workers’ job includes playing with the Lower Schoolers on the playground, doing arts and crafts with them and overseeing the completion of homework.

Head of Lower School Randal Rhodus oversaw the appointment of these Upper School girls and was excited to foster interaction between girls of different ages.

“In the spirit of the One Hockaday initiative, we care a lot about bringing divisions together,” Rhodus said.

And according to Rhodus, the Lower Schoolers’ response about this new program has been a positive one as well. “There is something about working with older students that Lower Schoolers are drawn to,” Rhodus said.

Kennedy echoed Rhodus’ sentiment. “Whenever those [Upper School] girls walk in, all the little ones get up and rush to the big girls and start hugging them and asking them, ‘Will you show me how to jump rope?’”

Fourth grader Georgia Fuller, who participates in the after-school program, appreciates that the Upper School student workers understand the young girls’ interests. “Sometimes my friends and I will bring up something that we like, and Addie and Vyanka will say, ‘I did that when I was your age,’” Fuller said.

Lower School students like Fuller also find mentors within the Upper School girls. “They feel comfortable asking girls in Upper School for homework help and advice, too,” Kennedy said.

Rhodus and Kennedy hope to expand job openings to those who are interested in working with children as part of their future careers and understand how to work with younger girls.

“This is an opportunity for the Upper School students who have an interest in working with children to continue to grow their skills,” Rhodus said.


Eshani Kishore – Features Editor

More to Discover