A Great Day for Grandparents

This past year has been a tough one for many grandparents. Missed holidays, no hugs, and more FaceTime than face time have affected many relationships. Sidwell Friends understood: Grandparents Day could not be just one more event that didn’t happen this year.

So, for four days in May, grandparents and other special friends joined in virtual activities from across the country. They observed Middle School art, music, and drama classes; listened to student-led panels on ethical leadership and service; did yoga; met with Head of School Bryan Garman and all of the Sidwell Friends principals; shared photos of themselves and their grandkids from times they could be together; and more.

“The School gave us a remarkable week of Zoom activities,” says participant Lucy Labson (GP ’21, ’23). “It was interesting and exciting to see all the thinking that goes into every aspect of life at Sidwell Friends, from academic to social to putting one’s values into action. It was such a special experience for us as grandparents and caregivers.”

“Over the four days, there were so many stories,” says Kathi Webb ’76, the director of parent relations at Sidwell Friends. “Grandparents sharing stories about their grandchildren, teachers sharing stories about their classes and students, and students sharing stories about their grandparents.”

Grandparents also got a chance to participate in Meeting for Worship, which was a first for many of them. Before Meeting began, some 4th graders brought the visitors up to speed on the tradition of silent worship, including an explanation of the role of queries. In addition to sitting in on student classes, grandparents received their own workshop on writing their memoirs from Jane Kerschner (P ’97, ’99, ’03, GP ’29, ’32).

While nothing can replace an in-person visit to campus, the virtual Grandparents Days allowed grandparents to get a real sense of this extraordinary year, and to see how the School and the students have adapted to virtual, hybrid, and in-person learning.

“We were so grateful to be a true part of the remarkable Sidwell experience,” Judith Barnett (GP ’26, ’29) says. “Grandparents have so much to give to their families and, with this inclusion, we are far more aware of the lives of our grandchildren; this allows us to be a more effective part of their lives.”

Hopefully, all of the grandparents in the Sidwell Friends community will soon reunite with their grandchildren (all of whom, presumably, are perfect in the eyes of their grandparents). Until then, Sidwell Friends will always be a place that brings families together.

Grandparents Information

Photos, a recording of the Head of School and Principals welcome at grandparents days and a calendar of upcoming events can be found on the grandparents webpage: www.sidwell.edu/grandparents. We look forward to seeing you.


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Sad News Regarding Robert L. Smith

It is with a heavy heart that I write to inform you that former head of school and trustee Robert Lawrence Smith died peacefully early Monday, May 24, at the age of 96 at his home in Bethesda.