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.
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May 13, 2024

School Year Calendar Altered

School+Year+Calendar+Altered

With their bright white dresses and colorful flower arrangements on their hats, the Class of 2017 is set to graduate on May 20, a week earlier than originally planned by administration.

Traditionally, the last weeks of school are jam packed with end of the year events. This year, the administration made changes, which include combining awards assemblies, restructuring Form Day, and moving the Commencement date up.

SENIOR WEEK

The primary explanation for the Commencement date change is that a Memorial Day weekend graduation presents challenges for the Hockaday community as a whole.

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“We want to protect our traditions but at the same time think progressively in order to make sure we do what makes sense for our community,” Murray said.

With this change, transition week—when seniors attend seminars that prepare them for life after Hockaday—will begin on May 15. Form IV Dean Rebekah Calhoun said that this new schedule will reduce the load for faculty and provide ample time for grades to be logged and sent out.  

Other benefits stem from the Commencement date change as St. Mark’s and Hockaday’s Commencements will fall on the same weekend. Many Hockaday families have graduating relatives and friends at St. Mark’s and Murray believes it will alleviate their hectic schedules.

“My hope is moving Commencement early relieves some of the pressure off of the schedule and gets the girls graduated more appropriately without waiting,” Murray said.

Assistant Head of Upper School Renee Laffitte said that it was difficult to make this schedule change as it impacted other events, like Ring Day.

“It is challenging to honor both the students’ time and Hockaday tradition when planning the end of year,” Laffitte said.

Even with the adjustments, Calhoun said that moving up graduation was the right decision.“I think people are often a little taken aback when there is a change like this, but I think it is a good change,” Calhoun said.

But some students are concerned about this change. Outgoing Form IV President Malini Naidu recounts feeling a little rushed towards the end of the year.

“I personally liked having graduation be the last event of the year,” Naidu said. “But I know it will be really nice to have to get out earlier.”

But she agreed that most of the senior class seemed to accept the change.

RING DAY

Ring Day for juniors used to fall on the week preceding Commencement, but now it will fall on May 22, the Monday following graduation. Naidu believes this is best for the rising seniors.

“I think it makes more sense because once we will have graduated, the juniors will officially become seniors,” Naidu said.

Murray expects a smoother transition from one class of seniors to another.

“The other nice piece of the change in date for Ring Day is to allow the juniors to be able to have some leadership time,” Murray said. “So once we get the seniors graduate, juniors have that week to focus on themselves and their time as leaders of the school.”

HONORS ASSEMBLIES

Another significant change to the 2016-2017 calendar has been combining the Sudie Duncan Awards, the Underclassmen Recognition, and Senior Honors assembly.

“This time of year is always so crazy, so if we have the ability to limit the amount of assemblies we have, we should,” Murray said.

Not only is the Hockaday administration removing an assembly from the end of the year chaos, but they are also adjusting the content of the assemblies.

Instead of announcing some awards the administration will work to focus assembly times to give relevant awards, such as the book and citizenship awards.

Rory Finn, rising Form IV President, shares her hopes about the combined assemblies, like Sudie Duncan.

“The Sudie Duncan awards are definitely special because they’re not academically oriented, and I hope we’ll continue to celebrate the values that this award represents just as much as if they had their own assembly,” Finn said. “But at the end of the day, I think we’ll all be thankful for one fewer trip to the auditorium during the busiest time of the year.”

FORM DAY

Along with the division of the Sudie Duncan assembly, Form Day is also seeing changes this year.

Having looked into having Form Day on one day of Spring SPC spirit week April 24 through April 28 to include all four forms, Murray stated the schedule did not permit this schedule change.

“There is a lot of pressure on the schedule as a whole, so I hope we can rethink Form Day as a whole,” Murray said. “The last couple of years, Form Day also just didn’t have as much energy or excitement around it. “

In order to both accommodate the schedule of students and honor the Form Day tradition, Laffitte says that an alternative Form Day will be celebrated the last day of classes on May 24.

“It’s a matter of balance and prioritizing what matters to us: finishing strong academically, being able to get to your sporting events, having time to do the things you need to at home and still fitting in the fun high school activities that make it a fun high school environment,” Murray said.


Emily Fuller – A&E Editor

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