Groundbreaking ceremony held for upper school events center and gymnasium


Donors use golden shovels to throw soil off a plot of land on Rosenthal Field during the Groundbreaking Ceremony. The ceremony took place on Tuesday May 3 at 1 p.m.

by Aneesha Kumar and Anjay Saklecha

Students, faculty, staff and donors took part today in the groundbreaking ceremony for the new performing arts and athletic center planned by Advancement.

Starting off the event, head of school Chris Nikoloff gave an opening speech and welcomed Diana Nichols, head of the Board of Trustees. Following that, Nichols discussed the history and significance of this project. She also introduced the construction crew and the Rothschilds, parents of Isaac Rothschild (‘14) and Jackiel Rothschild (12), who donated a $10 million matching fund for this project.

“I thought it was really really positive,” upper school history teacher Andrea Milius said. “Also, I’ve been here for some time, and I saw Diana Nichols speak. I’d never seen Diana Nichols speak before, I saw donors today and I think it just gave us a chance to kind of face to face meet these important people and understand how much this means to our school.”

The lower school Eaglets then presented the Rothschilds with flowers. Closing out the speeches, seniors Jonathan Yiu and Shannon Richardson spoke about their commitments to performing arts and athletics.

Jonathan discussed his excitement for the new buildings as a dedicated basketball player and an enthusiastic orchestra student. Similarly, Shannon gave a short speech about her athletic journey through volleyball and the support she received from Harker faculty to pursue her passion.

After these talks, the board of trustees officially broke the ground using gold shovels. The board of fellows and major benefactors, all donors, staff, the construction team, athletic department and arts department representatives, as well as student representatives from all grades, had the chance to break the ground.

Many students took pride in celebrating this milestone together, as it was a memorable experience for the entire Harker community.

“I thought it was a good experience to go to groundbreaking ceremony, and the board of directors, along with all of the administration that I rarely see on campus, were there. I thought it was a good chance to just see their faces,” freshman Zachary Wong said. “It is a good symbol of Harker’s growth and development. I’m just happy to be here when the gym is built.”

Although the current juniors and seniors are excited for the big step Harker is making to create a new performing arts and gymnasium building, they will not have the chance to experience the final project.

“It was really great how the entire Harker community came together and celebrated this momentous occasion, which features the school and students,” said Arthi Iyer (11), whose class will have graduated before the completion of the construction.

At the closing of the ceremony, the upper students gathered together for a photograph, and confetti exploded in the air to officially end the event. The students and teachers were encouraged to wear their class T-shirts or any shirt with their class color.

“For me, the best moment was when everybody gathered in the middle and you had all the current students there together, most of them wearing their class colors when the drone flew overhead, and then the confetti cannons shot off,” said assistant to director of student activities Eric Kallbrier. “I thought it really exemplified the unity that the school was trying to capture through this event and it was really cool to see.”

The official construction for the building will begin on May 9.