The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

Winged Post

Annual upper school Back to School Day bridges parent to teacher connections

Ananya Sriram
A parent converses with athletics department representative Vyom Vidyarthi (11) at the Harker athletics booth during Back-to-School Day on Saturday. Club and organization representatives, including faculty and students, set up booths outside the Rothschild Performing Arts Center (RPAC) Saturday morning.

Upper school faculty, students and parents attended the annual Back to School Day to take a glimpse at daily student life at the Saratoga campus on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Back to School Day serves as an opportunity for guardians of students to familiarize themselves with students’ classes and teachers by participating in 10-minute class periods. 

The day kicked off with breakfast and booths set up by upper school clubs and organizations, including athletics, DECA, Harker Eclectic Literary Magazine (HELM), performing arts, robotics, TEDxHarkerSchool and Harker Journalism. Faculty and student representatives from the programs displayed decorated tri-fold posters and answered questions as parents socialized before the start of classes. 

Following the introduction to campus organizations, guardians attended a brief meeting with their students’ advisers before attending classes. Student ambassadors, including members of Associated Student Body (ASB), class councils, Student Diversity Coalition (SDC), Honor Council and National Honor Society (NHS) answered questions and guided parents to locations around campus. 

“In the morning there wasn’t anybody here, but [as] it’s starting to get busier, it’s more fun,” student council member Terry Xie (10) said. “[To prepare], we had a meeting with [upper school head Paul] Barsky, where he explained what was going on and gave everyone their positions.”

In their respective classes, teachers employed different methods to introduce both themselves and their curriculum, such as slideshows, interactive games and formal lectures. Many parents enjoyed the engaging and personal aspects of teacher introductions as a way to establish a deeper connection. Sophomore Lily Shi’s mother, ​​Haidan Li, who attended upper school Modern and Classical Languages department chair and Advanced Placement (AP) Spanish Language teacher Abel Olivas’ class, found that his presentation about his culture served as a way to “break the ice.”

“My favorite part of back to school [was] getting to meet the teachers in person and learning about their backgrounds and family stories,” Li said. “[Señor Olivas] was such a fun and dynamic teacher. He was super energetic, and I liked the fact that he showed us a family picture because that helped us get to know him better.”

Amidst preparations, many teachers found that condensing introductions, class content and activities into the shorter period proved a challenge. 

“[One of the challenges I encountered was] trying to finish everything in 10 minutes,” upper school chemistry teacher Ran Tao said. “It’s kind of challenging for a teacher, [as] class time is 85 minutes, and I feel it should be longer so I can finish all the materials I prepared. It’s the same thing with Back to School Day; it’s 10 minutes [and] very hard to put everything I want to share together.” 

After attending their students’ classes, parents enjoyed a lunch prepared by upper school chefs in Manzanita Hall. The event closed as parents and student ambassadors departed from the upper school campus at around 12:30 p.m.

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About the Contributors
Ashley Mo
Ashley Mo, Reporter
Ashley Mo (10) is a reporter for Harker Aquila, and this is her second year on staff. This year, Ashley hopes to write about stories both within and outside of the Harker community, form friendships on the journalism team and learn more about global news events. In her free time, she enjoys playing golf and listening to music.
Vivek Moorjani
Vivek Moorjani, Reporter
Vivek Moorjani (10) is a reporter for Harker Aquila, and this is his second year on staff. This year, Vivek hopes to explore different writing styles in journalism. In his free time, he likes to read non-fiction and watch various movies and television shows.
Ananya Sriram
Ananya Sriram, Winged Post Co-Managing Editor
Ananya Sriram (12) is a co-managing editor for the Winged Post, and this is her fourth year on staff. This year, Ananya hopes to bond more with members of journalism staff and explore creative page designs to modernize Winged Post and help the paper find its essence. In her free time, she enjoys eating spicy food, curating a new monthly Spotify playlist or taking sunset photos.

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