Back to School Day offers glimpse of student life


Desiree Luo

TEDx co-curator Medha Yarlagadda (11) and TEDx Public Relations Director Daniel Lin (11) speak to a parent. The upper school hosted Back to School day yesterday for parents to explore the campus and classes.

by Desiree Luo and Medha Yarlagadda

Upper school parents attended the annual Back to School Day to familiarize themselves with classes, teachers and extracurriculars yesterday from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Saratoga campus. 

“[The purpose of Back to School Day is] to give the parents a sense of what happens for their students, their appreciation of the program and teachers and everything that Harker offers,” Head of School Brian Yager said. 

Each year, teachers introduce themselves and their subjects during condensed classes, offering parents a glimpse into a student’s experience.

“[I hope to] see the teachers [and] understand the curriculum and [the teachers’] view on the subjects before [student-parent-teacher conferences],” Ravi Madala, father of Juhi Madala (11), said. 

After arriving by shuttle from the Blackford campus, parents visited booths set up by clubs and organizations in the Donor Plaza in front of the Rothschild Performing Arts Center (RPAC). Representatives and faculty of the performing arts, speech and debate, journalism and athletics departments as well as students from DECA, Harker Eclectic Literary Magazine (HELM) and Robotics answered parents’ questions. 

“I didn’t expect it to be so overwhelming because so many parents were flooding in and asking a lot of questions, but it was really fun,” HELM co-editor-in-chief Claire Chen (12) said. “A lot of people didn’t know about HELM before this, so it was a really good way to branch out.”

Parents then met their child’s advisors and attended ten-minute long classes according to their children’s schedules. Student Ambassadors, consisting of Associated Student Body (ASB) and student council members, were stationed throughout campus to provide directions and answer questions. 

This year, administration worked with the kitchen staff to provide lunch for parents that resembled students’ lunches in Manzanita Hall. All parents boarded shuttles to return to Blackford by 1:30 p.m.

“If each parent can leave each classroom, saying, ‘I want to take that class,’ then I’m happy,” Head of Upper School Paul Barsky said. “The excitement around this day reminds me of how fortunate I feel to be part of this community.”