Sidwell Returns Grandparents’ Day In Person for 2023

Graphic: Quinn Patwardhan 24.

Graphic: Quinn Patwardhan ’24.

The Grandparents and Special Friends Day celebration on May 12 welcomed over 400 visitors across all three school divisions.

During the pandemic, the event continued virtually as a result of safety concerns. However, Grandparents’ Day returned to normalcy with in-person activities, such as choral concerts, service activities and various performances.

Assistant Director of Donor Engagement Sarah Mason took a leading role in the event’s organization. “This was the first in-person [event] since 2019 and there was a strong response to gathering after a few years of virtual engagement,” she said. Mason added that “several guests remarked it was one of the best Grandparents and Special Friends Days.”

Many branches of Sidwell’s faculty and staff worked to make this event possible. The Advancement Office and a volunteer committee collaborated in the planning process. Mason noted that “the partnerships with the Principals and other departments such as security, health services, facilities, catering and auxiliary programs, among others, were key to the day’s success.”

Additionally, the Sidwell Parent and Grandparent Committee played an integral role in event coordination by encouraging participation and philanthropic donations.

Each school division celebrated this day in a unique way. At the Lower School, Star the Fox greeted guests as they arrived, a cherished tradition in the Sidwell community. In the afternoon, grandparents and special friends watched their loved ones perform songs, including “This Little Light of Mine” and “When I Grow Up” in a choral concert.

On the Washington campus, Middle School students showcased a shortened version of their spring musical, “Dear Edwina.” Visitors also had the opportunity to attend students’ afternoon classes.

At the Upper School, the event began in the afternoon with a performance of “Lord Hear My Prayer” by the Upper School chamber chorus. Afterward, many students took their guests around the campus, including freshman Eyob Sisay. “I gave my grandparents a tour of the Upper School building and all of my classes, as well as the arts center,” he said. This time allowed students to add a personal touch to the day and show their grandparents and special friends what their school days entail.

Many families took part in a service activity organized outside of Zartman House. In partnership with Thoughtful Treasures, an organization dedicated to creating joy for patients at the NIH Clinical Center, families created gift boxes. Inside were stickers, bookmarks, crayons, coloring sheets, and toys. Freshman Caroline Mohamadi shared her thoughts on the project: “I thought it was a great way to engage with my grandparents and give back to the community.”

In addition, students and their guests made cards for residents at Sunrise Senior Living, a facility that offers assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing services.

Many students said they enjoyed the event and spending time with their grandparents and special friends. Many commented that events of this nature are important in keeping school morale high as the end of the year approaches. “Across the three divisions, you could feel the joy and see smiles everywhere,” Mason concluded.