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

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Boarding through the years

An in-depth look at Hockaday’s boarding department
Boarding+through+the+years
Hockaday Alumnae Archives

The Evolution of Boarding

Nestled within the three-story Liza Lee Academic Research Center at the end of a hallway resides one of Hockaday’s hidden treasures: the alumnae archives.
Amongst the collection of every style of Commencement dress worn at Hockaday, various trophies and past editions of the Hockaday yearbook, folders upon folders are filled to the brim with photos of the boarding department that tell the story of Hockaday’s past to retain its legacy.
Originally called the “Home Department” at its inception in the 1914-1915 school year, boarding has a history of over 100 years within our school.
To help ensure that the department ran smoothly, Ms. Hockaday selected Ms. Miriam Morgan and Ms. Sarah B. Trent.
According to the Centennial Celebration page on Hockaday’s website, Ms. Morgan reflected on her experience with the boarding department in her retirement speech: “Then came the great chance which brought into my life its greatest joy—the opportunity of service. When Miss Ela Hockaday and Miss Sarah B. Trent called on me on my birthday, May 12, 1915, and asked me to join them in establishing a boarding department in their already successful school, I little realized the great opportunity for service that they offered me. Only now as the sun is fast setting for me do I fully realize what a marvelous blessing has been mine to love and be loved by so many dear girls.”
During the 1921-1922 school year, a student government system was created, called the House Council, which still exists today. In the 1920s, House Council was integral in the expansion and evolution of the boarding department. Specifically, Council would amend regulations and create new rules and would present them for approval with the other students.
When the campus moved to Greenville Avenue, the boarding department went with it.
During this time period, a farmhouse on campus and the houses around Greenville were apart of boarding, until Hockaday moved to its current location. From being boarding houses to a retirement home to apartments in the present day, the Greenville location still has a plaque to honor its history and significance to Hockaday’s boarding department. Currently, the property is home to several apartments.
With the boarding department coming to a close, through the many boarding alumnae and faculty, the lasting and resonating legacy of the boarding department is preserved.

Generational Boarder

Among the many boarders of Hockaday, Dr. Claire Hughes ‘85 stands out as she was not only a boarder, but so was her daughter, Annalia Lynch ‘19.
Hughes came to Hockaday as a boarder her freshman year from a small town in Colorado. When her grandmother, Hockaday class of ‘33, realized that Hughes was bored in school, she convinced Hughes’ parents to send her to Hockaday.
In the 80s, Hockaday had a diverse range of boarders, with some from Taiwan, Saudi Arabia and Mexico.
“I got to meet people from countries that I had never experienced or even thought about before,” Hughes said. “It completely opened my mind.”
Hughes describes the boarding department as a place where young women are prepared to be leaders and are taught to have no limits.
“I think Ms. Hockaday had the concept of not only sending girls to the world, but also bringing the world to Hockaday,” Hughes said.
Aligning with Ela Hockaday’s goal to expose Hockaday students to diverse opportunities, Hockaday used to bring guest speakers each Wednesday to speak to the boarders as a part of a lecture series. One speaker stood out to Hughes as he talked about how language links with culture.
“I just sat there and was blown away by this whole thought,” Hughes said. “It literally has impacted my research directions. My first awareness came from that one conversation after a Wednesday night dinner.”
When Hughes decided to send her own daughter Annalia to Hockaday as a boarder, she made the choice for the same reason her grandmother wanted her to attend Hockaday: to receive a wonderful education that would not have been possible in their small town Brunswick, Georgia.
“Annalia was getting really bored at school, and I knew that she needed something more significant,” Hughes said. “Boarding was a great experience for me and so I wanted to send my daughter too.”
Annalia came to Hockaday as a boarder in her freshman year and is now at the U.S. State Department as a passport specialist and is going into foreign policy.
“I guarantee you it’s because she got exposed to different ways of being, so I think that the boarding department was actually really critical to her,” said Hughes.
Boarding as a student and as a parent were different for Hughes because as a parent, she thought about the logistics and systems of support from afar.
“I still parented, I just got really good at a distance,” Hughes said.
In both her and her daughter’s lives after graduating from Hockaday, Hughes has seen the palpable impact of boarding on their self-sufficiency and willingness to endure challenges.
“College was a breeze for me, and I knew how to handle things that no one knew how to do,” Hughes said. “Annalia also became independent as a boarder, and it had a tremendous impact on her tendencies to take risks.”
To encompass her time in boarding with a memory, Hughes recalls a surreal experience during a thunderstorm.
“There was a Dallas thunderstorm with lightning rolling through, and a lot of us went into one room and listened to opera,” Hughes said. “It was a surreal experience that was crystallizing and just something special.
Hughes acknowledged the pressure that comes with being a Hockaday student, but she realized the expectations were truly exposing her to their limitless potential.
“I always felt like if you weren’t President or CEO, you failed, but it wasn’t,” Hughes said. “I realize now: what they do is tell you all the things that are possible and wherever you land, it’s this goal that you’re going to change the world.”

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Daisy Boarder to Daisy Mom

In addition to being a Hockaday parent to Campbell Harris ‘22 and senior Harper Harris, Holly Harris ‘85 was a boarder at Hockaday. Harris moved from Rogers, Arkansas to board at Hockaday during her junior and senior years.
Throughout her two years boarding, Harris learned how to be more autonomous over her life.
“I developed independence and greater sense of responsibility,” Harris said. “I took responsibility in ways that I might not have had to with my parents around.”
When Harris returned for an alumnae event when her daughters were in Lower School, she toured the renovated boarding hall.
“I heard about the new traditions and the redone facilities were very nice,” Harris said. “I got a sense that they were doing a lot to engage the boarders to create memories and traditions, and it was good that they had developed and matured the department a lot.”

Harris believes that boarding’s legacy at Hockaday created a broader range of possibilities for students.
“The boarding department expanded the outreach and left a positive legacy,” Harris said. “I’m sad to see it go.”
Being able to attend Hockaday through the boarding department, Harris perceived Hockaday’s positive impact on her life and was thus inspired by the opportunities with which boarding provided her to send her daughters to Hockaday as well.
“I really wanted them to have a great education.” Harris said. “All the opportunities they’ve been afforded at Hockaday, their accomplishments, and being strong young women sets them up.”

Last Boarders

As members of the final class of boarders, seniors Yoyo Yuan and Sophia Chen shared the impact boarding has had on them throughout their Hockaday journeys.
Yuan, who moved from Shanghai, China for eighth grade, has grown from being a timid, homesick 12-year-old into a confident, independent senior ready to pursue the next chapter of her life. Yuan’s family moved her into the dorm, but being unable to communicate with them during the first night as they were on a plane was a difficult experience.
“At first, I was insecure about English and communication skills, but over the five years, I feel like a grown up and I can do everything with confidence,” Yuan said.
Chen currently serves as the House Council President and is originally from Houston and joined Hockaday as a boarder for her freshman year.
During COVID, both Chen and Yuan lived with host families while the dorms were closed, and living in a new environment provided them with different perspectives and teachings.
Once moving into the boarding facility in the second semester of her sophomore year, Chen began to create memories with fellow boarders, studying in the lounge with the other boarders while conversing. Chen has also learned how to manage her time effectively.
“I like the opportunity to get to know the other boarders while having fun,” Chen said. “I’ve also learned to be independent without someone hovering over my shoulder and to pace myself.”
Beyond growth in self-sufficiency as a boarder, Yuan feels that the boarding department has helped her learn to take others’ needs into account.
“We coordinate our schedules so everyone can work together, and I’ve realized that everyone needs to coordinate, which is really important in college life as well,” Yuan said.
Throughout Chen’s years as a boarder, her favorite tradition has been decorating ornaments during the holiday season, which stay on the tree after the boarders graduate, symbolizing their legacy.
“The ornaments go on the Christmas tree in the Great Hall and are part of the tree in the future as well,” Chen said.
Both Yuan and Chen agree that one of their favorite traditions is the “Hat Cake Ceremony,” a beloved and significant occasion during which the boarders each get a cake in the shape of a Commencement hat.
“This year, we opened the Hat Cake Ceremony to all seniors because we wanted to share a tradition from boarding before the department closes,” Chen said.
Looking back on her time boarding, Yuan is grateful for all the people who have helped her along the way.
“I’m grateful for Sage, the maintenance staff, the drivers and the dorm parents,” Yuan said. “I’m thankful that they sacrificed their own free time for us.”
Yuan and Chen agree that boarding will still have a lasting impact on Hockaday long after the department closes, as Chen believes that the alumni boarders will leave remnants of their legacy in clubs, student council and things they said.
“Boarding will be an integral part of the community even when the building itself isn’t there,” Yuan said. “Boarders have brought different perspectives into the clubs, activities and classes.”
Chen has loved meeting new people who come from various backgrounds as they unite in boarding.
“The boarding department is a melting pot for cultures ,” Chen said. “We share our experiences and learn from each other.”
For Yuan, boarding has been a haven of comfort during her five years at Hockaday.
“The boarding department is a safe place on campus, and it’s very special to be a minority as boarders and be the last class of boarders to experience boarding,” Yuan said. “It is fulfilling to have so much space to use to organize rooms and do homework. I don’t think I’ll ever find a dorm as great as this one.”

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About the Contributors
Sarah Moskowitz
Sarah Moskowitz, Staff Writer
Melinda Hu
Melinda Hu, Staff Writer