Fall Family Weekend 2017

Families enjoy a jam-packed weekend at Casa de Piedra.
Fall Family Weekend is always one of the busiest—and most fun—weekends of the year. Parents, siblings, and family arrive in the Ojai Valley to reunite with their Toad(s) and get a taste of the Thacher life. Riding demonstrations, Open House at the Mulligans, sports matches, music and dance performances, classes, meals on the Pergola—they did it all!


BBQ on the Pergola and in the Dining Hall—Seating by class year allowed visiting family members to meet, greet, and mingle with students, other families, and faculty members on the first evening of Family Weekend.

“A Family Weekend Sampler”—Jazz Ensemble, Dance Ensemble, String Ensemble, Chamber Singers, Freshman Chorus, and the Thacher Masquers wowed the audience gathered in the Milligan Center with their skill and energy on the stage. Libby Hatton ’18, Isabel Hosafros ’19, and Alette Segerstrom ’19 staged a sneak preview scene from the upcoming fall play, Murder at Coppersmith Inn.

Mini-Classes—The parents became the students for a couple of hours Saturday morning when they attended a series of miniature class periods, visiting English, history, science, math, and arts classes for a behind-the-scenes look at Thacher academics.

Advisor and College Counseling Meetings—Throughout the afternoon, families touched base and caught up with their students’ advisors and attended meetings on various topics related to college counseling, depending on class year.

Parent-Student Trap Shoot—Out at the Twin Peaks Trap Range, family-student pairings made up two-person teams that competed for most targets hit.

Football and Volleyball—Families and friends whooped and cheered from the sidelines of the varsity football and varsity volleyball games, giving our Toads a big boost as they battled to the end. In the Voit Gym, the girls’ varsity volleyball team came away with a 3-1 win against Santa Clara.

Open House at the Mulligans—Many enjoyed quality family time by going off campus for dinner, but most returned to see what this “Open House” phenomenon is all about. Every Saturday of the school year, Head of School Michael Mulligan and Chair of the English Department Joy Sawyer-Mulligan invite everyone in the Thacher community to play games, eat snacks, listen to music, make crafts, and mix and mingle in their home. This Saturday was no different, with families joining the fun and seeing what the famous Mulligan hospitality is all about.

Non-Denominational Chapel Service—Sunday morning, many gathered at the Outdoor Chapel for reflections, readings, and song against the backdrop of the Ojai Valley. The Chamber Singers performed; Olivia de Polo ’18 and Klara Jacobs ’19 gave a beautiful rendition of Duet No.3, Op.87 by Charles de Beriot; Wesley Porter ’19, Maggie Sonenshine ’19, and Adam Pepper-Macias ’21 each delivered thoughtful readings or remarks; and Kathy Matsui Koll (parent of Pria Koll ’18) delivered the main remarks.

Riding Exhibition—All fall, the freshmen had been preparing for the big riding demonstration on Fall Family Weekend. Individual riding groups worked for weeks choreographing and practicing their creative routines, which included the usual drill work—pairs, pinwheels, and thread-the-needle—combined with the more daring: rescue racing, standing on saddles to take a bow, back-flip dismounts, sack racing, and more. The exhibition began, as it always does, with the impressive Grand Entry. Over a hundred horses and riders wound single file down a rocky hillside trail into the arena where family, friends, peers, and faculty members waited with anticipation. Shalan Billault-Lee ’18, Jeffrey Ding ’18, Paiton Gleeson ’18, and Michael Ratsimbazafy ’18 sang The Star-Spangled Banner and upper class riders Sarah Finch ’18 and Libby Hatton ’18 ran the flags. Then, groups with names like The Disengaged Hindquarters, Los Vaqueros Valientes, and The Rambling Gauchos showed off their new tricks and horsemanship skills, which will only continue to grow as the year continues.  

Thanks to all the faculty, staff, students, and visitors that made the weekend so special!

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