SAGE takes the stage, Luna lights up Hoak

Staff members discuss their day-to-day lives at the school


Anjy Fadairo

Every Monday through Friday, as the sun gently climbs over the horizon, Jasmine Hill, Renequial Walker and Elsa Luna make their way to Hockaday to start their work days. 

The school relies on staff members like these who work in services such as SAGE  and campus security. 

Walker, affectionately known as “Miss Nikki,” has been working here since October 2008.

When she arrives at the school in the morning, Miss Nikki turns on numerous kitchen appliances, ensures students have a bucket to place used silverware and dives into her busy day.

“I make sure the Daisy Den has their snacks, their fruit,” Walker said. “I work on the line, I make the tea, I cut the fruit for the tea, I do the silverware, I make sandwiches for Lower School. I take care of all the special diet kids – the gluten-free or the ones who can’t have bread or wheat or milk. Those kids come to me and make sure they do what they’re supposed to do.”

Walker said she misses seeing the lower schoolers, who no longer eat in the dining hall , a practice started for safety reasons during the COVID pandemic. During her 14 years here,  she has gotten to know lower schoolers and followed them through graduation. 

“I was so used to seeing them, and now I don’t get to see them,” Walker said. “They get their food over there in lower school, so it’s been two years now.”

Jasmine Hill, another SAGE worker, gets to work at 7 a.m., setting up the spa water, lemonade and the lunch line, and cleaning as needed. 

Hill said arriving early gives her flexibility with her family schedule.

“It gives me time to work,” Hill said. “I have kids, so it balances out for me.”

Elsa Luna, who has been working at Hockaday for 17 years, greets all those who enter Hoak Portico. While at her desk, she spends her hours answering phone calls, communicating with security and responding to the door buzzers.

Like Walker, Luna said she would like more direct interaction with the students.

“I’m not able to be as involved with the students as I would love to. Once I come this is my job,” Luna said, referring to her post at the reception desk. “Here.”

Hill said she came here because she loves kids.

“I like to work in the kitchen, but I love children, too,” Hill said, “and I like y’all’s faces – like on pasta days. Y’all love pasta.” 

Luna said she loves the interaction her job provides. 

“My favorite part about the job is interacting with people, the students, teachers, parents

visitors from all walks of life,” Luna said. 

Walker also said she loves the students. 

“I love you guys so much,” Walker said. “Y’all make my day. That’s why I love this job,” Walker said.