Following in her Footsteps

KEEPING UP Younger sisters struggle to create their own identities due to the preconceptions that come with having an older sister. Photo by Hailey

Students express the pros and cons of having older sisters at Hockaday

Seventh grader Tori understands that Hockaday is a school where having an older sister already taught by the same teachers can be a bonus. But an older sibling cannot always prepare her little sister for everything—especially the preconceptions teachers will have.
Tori said that preconceptions do occasionally come up in class. But she also acknowledged that footsteps are sometimes difficult to fill.
Specific teachers have “some good preconceptions that I can be as great as my sister was. And I appreciate that. No teachers have really had bad preconceptions,” she said.
Recently, Tori wrote a speech for the Middle School Speech Contest about how having an older sister affects her.
“Everyone thinks of the good things about being the youngest. Not the bad parts,” she said.
Tori’s sister Kristy ‘11 said, “I hope that they treat her just like any other student. Because despite her having an older sister, she’s her own person. I would hope they wouldn’t have preconceptions.”
Freshman Tiffany, whose sister also graduated from Hockaday, has encountered some of these preconceptions.
“They just expect you are going to work in the same way they do and have the same attitudes towards things,” Tiffany said. “It’s nice if they don’t [have preconceptions] because then you can forge your own path because sisters are different.”
But older and younger sisters are not the only types of siblings at Hockaday—there are twins as well. Sophomore Augusta, twin of Ali, said that the “twin situation” is different because these types of sisters are in the same grade.
“We’re pretty similar because we are twins,” Ali said. “And because we are so similar, they don’t have many preconceptions.”
Teachers such as fifth grade teacher Lisa Waugh say that they try their best to regard the younger sister, or twin, in the same way as any other student.
“I actually approach sibling situations with excitement and a very open-mind,” Waugh said. “I embrace the opportunity for each girl to be her own person and expect them to not be just like their sister.”
She said that usually sisters “don’t want to be in their sister’s shadow” so she tries to support them each individually.
Middle School Spanish teacher Orlando Greene added that having expectations of a younger sibling does not ultimately benefit the student.
Greene did, however, explain that having “previous experience with a girl’s family is beneficial to the younger sibling.” After he has taught a student, he is able to work with the family more easily and help the younger sister reach their goals faster because of pre-established communication and relations with her family.
On the other hand, some students feel that teachers’ presumptions do impact them negatively, especially those who believe their sisters left a strong legacy at Hockaday.
“I think they do have preconceptions, because they expect certain things from younger siblings knowing the older siblings,” seventh grader Alyssa said. “Like for art, they always expect me to be really artistic because my older sisters are really artistic.”
Similar to Alyssa, other siblings wish to enter into the year like any other student. Sophomore Dalton has watched three older siblings pass through Hockaday before her.
“It’s just a lot of pressure. It’s scary sometimes trying to live up to their expectations,” she said. “I am a different person than my sisters are, and I work differently.”