A Century to Celebrate

Development office, school officials share their plans for Hockaday’s 100th Birthday

With centennial celebrations beginning this spring, school administrators are gearing up for a year of festivities, ranging from daytime gatherings to formal dinner parties.

“You can come during the day, in casual clothing with the family, or you could come at night for a dressier event with a sit-down dinner,” said Meagan McCracken, the Centennial Coordinator.

The “Centennial Celebration Gala,” the event with the highest anticipated attendance, is expected draw more than 2000 people to campus.

The 58-member centennial planning committee will conduct a capital campaign in conjunction with and supported by the other centennial-related activities. “You don’t give to something you don’t love. What we do is try to reconnect,” said Holly Hook, the Centennial Committee Head. “We want them to fall in love with the school again.”

“We would love to see a lot of people visiting and reconnecting with the school,” said Hook, who began preparations for the centennial celebration five years ago.

The Centennial Committee has compiled a list of several other goals that they also hope to achieve throughout the celebration. Hook said that the centennial motto, “celebrate, imagine” effectively sums up the list. Especially, Hook added, to remember and honor the vision of Miss Ela Hockaday, the founder of the school. In her retirement speech, she said, “to see our Hockaday girls fulfilling their destinies, passing on to their children the ideals they acquired at Hockaday is a rich reward. Only useful lives are worthwhile lives. Hockaday girls are trained to be useful.”

McCracken added that the Committee members hope to remind the Hockaday community of the school’s 100 years of rich history while simultaneously inspiring visions of the future.

Ed Long, Dean of Upper School, shared his thoughts on suitable goals for the centennial celebration. He said that the centennial presents an opportunity for the conversion of the school’s past and future.

“You’re really considering and celebrating the past as a means of securing the school’s future,” he explained. “It’s an interesting contrast of motives, because you’re trying to keep your eye on the school’s past but actually the focus is on the school’s future.”

Long said that planning for the future has become increasingly important due to the ever increasing speed with which change (particularly technological) occurs during the 21st century.

“We have to prepare for the unknown at an ever accelerating pace,” he said. “What will young women need to be powerful in in this 21st century? Our problems have escalated because of the speed with which change occurs.”

In planning for the future, the activities and publications of the centennial celebration will engage with students and visitors of all ages.

“There is ample opportunity for everyone,” McCracken said.

McCraken added that, through planned events, the Committee hopes to enhance the school’s profile within the Dallas Community and raise awareness of the school.

In addition, the committee will host a website, Hockaday100.com, to highlight historical information, interesting tidbits and significant people throughout last 100 years. So, Hook said, even an alumnae hundreds of miles away could could still celebrate the school’s centennial along with the rest of the community.