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Upper school celebrates Howard Nichols’s birthday

by Daniel Wang, Reporter

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The upper school celebrated former head of school Howard Nichols’ birthday today through a presentation about his life and legacy during school meeting, followed by cookies, Nichols’ favorite snack, served to the Harker community outside the Main office and the pool.

Nichols, a visionary and administrator, built Harker into a school that valued both character and academics. He expanded the school to lower, middle and upper school campuses and created an extensive performing arts department. Through his leadership, Harker became the school it is today.

“Mr. Nichols knew every employee personally and made an effort personally to connect with students, staff and faculty,” Spanish teacher Diana Moss said.

During today’s school meeting, Academic Dean Evan Barth, whom Nichols hired 18 years ago, gave a tribute to Nichols for his contributions to the school. Barth described how Nichols meticulously picked up gum wrappers he saw on the ground to maintain the campus’s beauty and mentioned that the succeeding heads of school, Chris Nikoloff and Brian Yager, followed his lead. He shared a story about how Nichols sprinted from Main to Dobbins during a fire drill while everyone else stared in awe.

Kathy Fang
Barth gave a brief background on Howard Nichols’s life during school meeting yesterday. Harker celebrated what would have been Nichols’s 77th birthday this year.

“The look on his face was, ‘I’m putting out the fire in my building,’” Barth said.

Nichols served as head of Harker from 1973 until 2005. He was known for keeping a jar of chocolate chip cookies on his desk to welcome anyone who wanted to talk to him. To honor him, the kitchen faculty served chocolate chip cookies today to all students, faculty and staff.

Although many students do not remember much about Nichols, they still have good impressions of him.

“He always listened to people,” Naviya Kapadia (10), who was in first grade when Mr. Nichols passed away, said. “Even though he was head of school, he made time for others.”

Nichols’s devotion to the school and its students has left a lasting impression on the Harker community, even to those who only know of him as a distant figure.

“His care and dedication for the school translates into our daily lives many years later,” Arjun Virmani (9) said.

 

Daniel Wang
A poster sits next to the cookies, detailing Nichols' life and why Harker celebrates his birthday. Harker celebrated what would have been Nichols’ 77th birthday yesterday.

 

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Upper school celebrates Howard Nichols’s birthday