The “Snowpocalypse” at Hockaday

Thanks to an unprecedented bout of snow, ice, and unsafe driving conditions, Hockaday was closed for a total of five days this February. Students from Lower School to Upper School were locked out of school for nearly a week. But what about the students who were locked in school?

During the “snowpocalypse,” Hockaday residence students were not allowed to leave campus because of the dangerous conditions.

“What we had was not safe for experienced drivers” Danielle Ferguson, assistant director of Residence Life, says. “It would have been dangerous for students to drive or be driven anywhere for the first few days.  The news was filled with stories of accidents and some Hockaday staffers were involved in wrecks.” Even going outdoors, girls needed to bring an adult chaperone. These rules and the cold weather itself forced boarding students to find creative ways to entertain themselves.

“Cabin fever had spread quickly,” says freshman Sofia, “and snow days weren’t as fun anymore.” There was only so much Glee to last four days and trips to the mall or the grocery store had been cancelled. But despite the monotony, sophomore Lexi admits it was “a bonding experience for all of [them].”

Sofia sums up the week as one involving dancing, movie watching, and eating, much like the snow day experiences of day students. To pass the time, the game “Just Dance [became] a big favorite among the halls,” Lexi says, while many “braved the cold to have snowball fights.” A group of students even got the chance to sit down and watch Pride and Prejudice with Ms. Whitman.

Another “cabin fever” remedy consisted of sledding down the athletic fields’ hills in homemade sleds made out of cardboard boxes and trash bags. Students also built a snowman.

“Making a snowman was actually difficult,” says senior Lily.

“This is what boarding school is all about,” Ferguson says. “The week was something the girls will always remember. They bonded and got to know each other on a different level.”

Two seniors, Claire and Meredith, used the time off to hone their movie-making skills. After being stuck without school on the Hockaday campus for three days, the girls created a music video set to Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark.”

“We had wanted to create a music video for awhile,” Meredith says, “and saw the perfect opportunity to do it” during those four days free of school and work. Shortly put, they finally “had time,” says Claire.

The short film displayed several of the activities that were keeping the boarders sane, such as playing the piano and “ice skating.” Ferguson saw the video from its early stages right through to the final edit and says, “they are extremely creative and had us rolling with laughter throughout the video.”

Uploaded onto Facebook, the music video entertained many of Claire and Meredith’s classmates at home. “Snow-booking” was a term coined to describe those who attempted to cure their boredom during the days off by patrolling Facebook for hours.

According to Claire and Meredith, the video got rave reviews almost immediately with 33 likes and thirteen comments. Senior Samantha was one of those who watched and commented.

“The video was fun because we were all wondering what the boarders were doing up at Hockaday,” she says. “They were obviously experiencing as much cabin fever and boredom as the rest of us.” The video reflected general sentiments about the snow week, providing a connection to all, even though they were separated by the weather.

“The video was adorable,” Samantha says, “and now it will serve as a fun reminder of the Hockapocalypse of 2011.”

—Caitlin