PA hosts all-school dinner for parents

Jude Herwitz, Staff Writer

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At the Parent Association (PA) dinner this Wednesday, Head of School Dr. Tom Kelly discussed changes and achievements in each of the divisions, urged parents to contribute to the Annual Fund and HM in Motion, and warned about potential risks posed to students by a constant overload of information from social media.

Around 400 parents attended the event, which was held in the Cohen Dining Commons and also featured speeches by Chairman of the Board of Trustees Michael Colacino ‘75 P’22 and PA President Grace Peak.

Peak and Danielle Stennett-Neris P’19 discussed upcoming events in which parents can get involved, and Andrea Madaio P’23 advertised the upcoming Annual Benefit.

Colacino summarized the responsibilities and successes of the Board of Trustees and gave an update on HM in Motion.

“It’s hard to imagine a day or night wherein members of the PA aren’t involved with or informed of what’s going on at HM,” Kelly said. “In the most respectful and appreciative of ways, the PA represents a huge part of our fan base and our systems of operation.”

Part of the importance of the PA is that a more engaged parent body leads to higher overall student performance, Colacino said.

“There have been decades of studies showing that parental involvement is directly correlated to student performance, and we should do everything we can to enhance and encourage that. The PA is the primary vehicle for doing this, and the volunteer efforts of the parents are an essential element of the fabric of HM,” he said.

One of the goals of the PA is to help new families integrate into the community, Peak said. Many events are hosted in the fall to introduce new families to the school for every division.

At the dinner, PA representatives greeted new families and helped them engage with the rest of the PA, Upper Division PA co-Chair Cecile Caer P’19 P’21 P’24 said.

“If [new families] haven’t had an opportunity to mix with the PA, we’re going to help them navigate the evening,” she said.

Katherine Cohen P’25 said that she attended the event to get a sense of and become acclimated to the school community.

“Especially as a new parent, it’s important to understand the state of the school and the direction it’s heading,” she said.

The PA also runs an array of events throughout the year which raise money for financial aid and the Student Assistance Fund, support teachers, and help promote diversity and inclusion, Peak said.