Families gather at park for first-ever Class of 2022 picnic


Emily Tan

Alyssa Tomberg (10) looks over the food options laid out on the long, foldable table that one family brought. Sophomores and their families gathered at Vasona Park this past Sunday for a BBQ potluck.

by Emily Tan, Winged Post Assistant Features Editor

As Liza Shchegrov (10) and her brother threw a foam missile football back-and-forth at the top of a lush green hill that overlooked a sparkling lake, a group of elementary and middle schoolers fawned over a German Shepherd and Labrador mix, Katya, that Angelina Yuzifovich (10) brought, and a four-year-old Golden Retriever, Sirius, that Liza brought. Patties on the grill sizzled, sending a smoky aroma wafting across the picnic area where parents sat together in threes and fours chatting about school and cracking jokes over refreshing cold drinks. 

This scene was a part of an afternoon of activities when students in the upper school’s Class of 2022 and their families joined together on Sunday for a lunch potluck organized by 2022 Grade Level Coordinators (GLCs) Siobhan Due, Veronica Lindh and Director of Alumni Relations Kristina Alaniz, all parents of current sophomores, at the Vasona Lake County Park in Los Gatos.

“I was looking forward to reuniting with friends and just doing something outside of school,” Camilla Lindh (10) said. “I liked playing volleyball with everyone and socializing [and] hanging out with the puppies and the dogs that other people brought.”

Around nine families, totalling about 30 people, attended the potluck, bringing main dishes and snacks to the table for lunch.

Parents gathered around several of the long picnic benches, enjoying freshly grilled hamburgers as some sophomores and their siblings spent time with their dogs while others played a quick game of volleyball across a low-hanging net.

After lunch, the warm weather encouraged a trip down to the lake where families rented kayaks and pedal boats. Kai Due (10) recalled fond memories and the delicious food at the picnic as he reflected on the event as a whole. 

“There was a lot of class bonding. I feel like I’ve become a better member of my class and have contributed to the Harker community,” Kai said. 

Siobhan Due, one of the three 2022 GLCs, values events like this potluck to establish closer connections with the families of the Class of 2022 in a relaxing environment, noting that parents and students alike need breaks from the perpetual pressure and stress of school. With that in mind, she and the other GLCs wanted to create a time where Harker families could come together and “build community.” 

“Kristina, Veronica and I, I feel like we’re such a good team; as GLCs we all work really well together,” she said. “We all chip in and [do] a lot of stuff together. I feel so delighted to work with those two to do more stuff with the parents.”

Prior to the event, Christopher Hurshman, the Class of 2022 dean new this year and upper school English teacher, stated that he looked forward to the picnic as a way for families to get to know each other, as well as a chance for parents to meet faculty and the class dean in a more relaxed setting. 

“It’s a very spirited and responsible class and one that really has high expectations and ambitions for itself both here at Harker and beyond,” Hurshman said.