On January 31, Chapin alums enjoyed the wonderful opportunity to become students again at our beloved “Back to School” evening. With energy and more than a hint of nostalgia, more than 80 alums from the Class of 1952 to 2023 returned to 100 East End Avenue to attend their pre-selected class from a roster of captivating offerings.*
After an hour of lively and informative learning, the alum guests and members of our professional community came together for an animated reception on the second floor. Alums enjoyed catching up with one another, reminiscing about their Chapin experiences and reconnecting with their former teachers.
The enthusiastic feedback from attendees indicates that this year’s Back to School was a resounding success. Here are a few of their reflections:
“Thank you so much for a spectacular night! I had the best time participating in Ms. Hall’s class and seeing all the alums and teachers again.”
“The Harry Potter class was terrific, and I now want to go back to school every day.”
“We had so much fun and felt like we were right back to being 17.”
“This was really special. We were so impressed with the Individual Studies presentations. The girls were poised, in control and so smart. And it was great to catch up with friends afterwards.”
*Below are the descriptions of the five classes from which alums could choose:
Tinkering & Making, led by Dr. Jonathan Olivera (Director of the Hayot Center for Innovation)
By tinkering in the Hayot Center for Innovation (HCI), alums learned about the properties of materials and capabilities of tools, which very often leads to making something. It is the foundation of more complex designing and creating using technology and engineering skills. In this hands-on class, attendees engaged in the design-thinking process and faced some engineering challenges that put their creativity and problem-solving skills to the test.
Detecting Our Cognitive Distortions, led by Anita Cheng (Middle School Counselor and Health Educator) and Dr. Rona Shalev (Director of Counseling Services)
We all struggle at times with negative thoughts. In this class, participants discussed the ways in which our thoughts and behaviors are connected. The alums learned to identify common thinking traps that could lead to unhealthy behavior patterns and ways to reframe negative cognitions to broaden or shift perspectives.
Public Speaking, led by Xiomara Hall (Associate Head of School)
Developing the skills that comprise effective verbal self-expression is critical for all students. Alums in this class explored and practiced strategies to express themselves emphatically, clearly and authentically. This was an engaging, interactive and activity-based session.
Media Matters: Harry Potter, led by Liza Oldham (Director of the Annenberg Center for Learning and Research)
Why was Harry Potter such a publishing phenomenon? Why do so many of us know what Hogwarts House we’d likely be sorted into? What can we learn from the journeys of Harry, Ron, Hermione and myriad other characters we encounter in the series? Attendees of this class engaged in a discussion about the history of young adult literature and why this series continues to resonate in pop culture.
Individual Study Presentations, moderated by Ilana Pergam ’86 (Director of Academic Program)
Alums had the chance to hear from select Class 12 students who shared their in-progress Individual Studies projects. The presenters included: Evan Blake (a project in English and Dance), Sivan Levine (a project in the Sciences), and Addison Smith (a project in History and English).