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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Senior Splash Day
Senior Splash Day
May 13, 2024

Love, Mom

Celebrating Mother’s Day with memoirs from campus moms
The+Bolden+family+spends+quality+time+with+each+other+in+St.+Barts+over+Holiday+Break.+
The Bolden family spends quality time with each other in St. Barts over Holiday Break.

We would not be here without our mothers. We wouldn’t be here without our dads, either, but with Mother’s Day fast approaching on May 12, ’tis the season to show an ounce of appreciation for the moms in our lives. Here are the stories, cherished memories and perspectives of three moms who not only care about their own children, but also impact our lives every step of the way. 

Carla Bolden, mother of Anna Bolden ‘25 and Claire Bolden ‘27  

She’s a mother of two daisies, but grade-mom of 124 since 2014: Carla Bolden, one of the three grade reps for the Class of 2027, enjoys doing the behind-the-scenes work of the HPA helping to ensure we have a smooth-sailing school year. 

Throughout her time in this role, her responsibilities have varied. 

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 “In Upper School, the biggest thing is helping parents understand that the school will communicate with students and not with parents as much,” said Bolden. “It’s mostly reminding them when things are going on and planning social events for parents and students to get to know each other.”  

This year, she’s enjoyed getting to know the new parents and girls and having the opportunity to bring everyone together.  

“At the beginning of the year, we planned a game day for all the girls in the class of 2027, and then we had a coffee meeting with all the 2027 parents,” said Bolden.  

Appreciation between her role and school faculty goes both ways. 

“I feel appreciated just from the realness and joy of being at school all the time, the Hockaday Parents Association has also done a lot to formally thank us, and I find it personally rewarding to help bring community to parents.”  

For this year’s Mother’s Day, Bolden plans to attend the Rangers’ game with her family. 

Esther Bao, mother of Erin Yuan ‘25 

Twelve years ago, Esther Bao moved to the Plano area and began teaching Mandarin Chinese at St. Mark’s and Hockaday. She loved the single-gender environments and vividly remembers how marvelous her students were at both schools. In 2017, however, when her daughter Erin Yuan ‘25 was accepted to Hockaday, she transitioned to only working at Hockaday. 

While it was a difficult decision to make, she has never regretted it. When Yuan was in middle school, she used the 40-minute commute time to bond with her daughter over her school-life, friends, books and movies. 

 “It was a very precious time every day, basically a blessing for my daily life,” said Bao.  

Now, the well-loved Upper School Mandarin Chinese teacher spends less time with Yuan as she has grown older and started driving. They don’t get to see each other as often with their busy schedules – but their bond is stronger than ever. 

“We make it work,” said Yuan. “Even if it’s just walking down the hallway and saying hi, it’s so nice to have that extra time to see each other.”  

Bao also appreciates having students that are the same age as her daughter. She now understands why her students may be stressed, which allows her to rearrange her homework and assessments to accommodate their needs.  

“I learned firsthand information, and I keep learning, even as a teacher, because learning is our lifelong job,” said Bao. “I learn firsthand information from putting myself in my students’ shoes. I feel their pain, I’m happy for whatever they laugh at – so it’s easy to adjust my workload and assessments to meet their needs.” 

As Bao reflects on her favorite memories with her daughters, she recalls her and Yuan’s trip to China during the winter break, which was interrupted by a spelling error on Erin’s visa that necessitated an unexpected detour from Beijing to spend a week in Hong Kong.  

What truly amazed the family was the sheer serendipity of the situation: the hotel they randomly booked in Hong Kong turned out to be just a five-minute walk from where Bao’s husband lived twenty years ago when he worked there. Moreover, it was conveniently close to the sites his company had designed and constructed. For Yuan, being able to visit and witness what her father had built was an incredibly lucky yet immensely meaningful experience.  

“It was very special, and supposed to be an accident, but we turned it into a good thing,” said Bao.  

“That’s what my mom always says,” said Yuan. “Whenever anything bad happens she’s always like, ‘but it worked out in the end!’” 

Their plans for this year’s Mother’s Day are simple: making customized, matching shirts with a picture of their family on them.  

Natalia Ismail, mother of Sahir Ismail

Upper School mathematics teacher one minute, super-mom the next: Natalia Ismail’s hybrid lifestyle is one to be amazed at.  

In December 2022, Ismail prepared her upcoming lessons for the long-term substitute teacher just as she would’ve taught it. When she came back, however, it wasn’t stepping back into teaching that was difficult.  

“It was challenging because now I had another human to take care of,” Ismail said. 

 And it was hard for 8-week-old Sahir Ismail, who had gone from the sweet life at home to full-time at Hockaday’s Child Development Center – an amazing thing to have on campus, according to Ismail, since she can be there for her son whenever needed.  

This transition brought many lessons for Ismail – one being time management. While she used to take grading home and knock it out that night, she now must prioritize her baby and focus on his needs. 

“It required me to be super efficient with my time at school because it’s not realistic to just do stuff over the weekend or at the end of the day,” said Ismail.  

She has never been the type to stress out and finds balance in the power of prioritizing tasks, so she makes to-do lists and maps out her family and school events so she can be there for both. 

She is grateful to also have support from her husband.  

“He knows I love teaching, and knows I love being a mom, so when I have to work evenings or want to attend an event on campus, he’s always there to help me out,” said Ismail.   

Another lesson is something her own students taught her: resiliency and patience, which are two aspects of Ismail’s life that now apply to both her students and family. 

“Watching you guys deal with your challenges and be resilient is something we want to instill in him as well,” said Ismail. “Everyone learns at different paces, but having the patience to re-explain or try to make a connection somewhere else is something I’ve learned as a teacher and mom.”

Sahir is now 15 months old, which means the family is coming up on their second Mother’s Day together. For their first Mother’s Day together in 2023, Ismail’s husband gifted her a personalized frame with pictures of their new family.  

“It’s really special for us because our journey to parenthood hasn’t been easy, and he made last Mother’s Day so special to honor Sahir who’s allowed us to be parents.” 

This year, it’s all about cherishing their special moments together. Ismail’s most recent favorite family memory has been watching Sahir learn to walk.  

“He’ll pull himself up on counter or kitchen cabinets or coffee tables, and then let go and wiggle and falls,” said Ismail. “But he always wiggles and gets back up and tries again.” 

An aspiring reader, he also tends to crawl over to his stack of books and pull out a book that he wants to read. “It’s great seeing that he’s enjoying reading with us already, and it’s always fun to cuddle up on the glider and read books with him,” said Ismail. 

So how does she do it? Her advice: don’t lose yourself.  

“If being a mother is something that’s important to you, and having a career is something that’s important to you, you can do it. You can do it all. One doesn’t have to define the other, so stay true to you.” 

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About the Contributor
Alexa Muñoz
Alexa Muñoz, Arts & Life Co-Editor