Full (Hocka)House

Rachel Jan, Staff Writer

A beloved tradition, the Big Sis Lil Sis program has long been a cornerstone in welcoming freshmen to Upper School. But what about the sophomores and the juniors? This year, the Student Relations Board will implement an extension of the Big Sis Lil Sis program involving students from all four grades: HockaHouses.

HockaHouses are meant to be small sub-communities within the Upper School, consisting of at least one student from each grade. This initiative builds off the Big Sis Lil Sis program. To form the houses, the Board takes Big Sis Lil Sis pairs and adds a second pairing of a junior and a sophomore, matching them through surveys before assigning them all to one house. Like advisories, this house will stay the same for all four years of high school.

The program is scheduled to begin in early November.

“This year, the hard work is making the [HockaHouse] families,” Student Relations Board representative Abby Ruble said. “But after this year, the work will just be adding the freshmen, or little sis, to families in relation to who the Big Sis gets.”

The Student Relations board hopes this program will improve the bonds between students in different grades, especially with girls feeling isolated or uncertain due to the pandemic.

“We are all going through uncertain times, and having close- knit connections with others is very important,” Student Relations Board chair Kele Onuoha said.

In addition, Ruble and Onuoha both say the program will help unite juniors and sophomores, who usually aren’t involved in the Big Sis Lil Sis program, with the rest of the student body.

“A lot of times girls in these grades can only bond with other grades through certain sports or other Hockaday activities, but now we have a way everyone has easy access to those types of relationships,” Ruble said.

This program also aims to solve some of the shortcomings of the Big Sis Lil Sis program.

“We noticed that for the Big Sis Lil Sis Program, many students enjoyed it as freshman, but were upset that they wouldn’t cross paths with it until senior year,” Onuoha said. “Others never even got to encounter this wonderful program.”

With the new HockaHouse program, students will have a support system from other grades all four years of their time in UpperSchool. In addition, HockaHouse will give Big Sis Lil Sis pairs more opportunities to do activities together.

Initially, Student Relations planned in-person activities for the houses like group lunches, but with social-distancing measures, they now have to be more creative in incorporating all students, including distance-learners.

“We have some fun ideas like mass trivia games, Kahoots, best TikTok creation, dance battles, best costumes and many more fun things on our Instagram,” Onuoha said. “Although all these are still in the works, we hope we can implement them soon.”

While this new program will be a bit tedious to carry out at first, the Student Relations board is hopeful for the program’s impact and role in Upper School. Already, students are looking forward to the program.

“I’m really excited to see what we’re going to do in HockaHouse,” junior Emily Estes said. “I think it will be a fun experience for everyone.”

Onuha said other students shared the same thoughts in a survey sent a few weeks ago about HockaHouse.

“We have received mostly positive feedback,” Onuoha said. “After I reviewed the survey I noticed that many people were just as excited to have this program in school as we were.”

Students with questions or suggestions regarding the program can reach out to Kele Onuoha ([email protected]), Caitlin Katz ([email protected] org), Abby Ruble ([email protected] hockaday.org) and Emma Estrada ([email protected]).