Opening Weekend Was a Blast!

If the first weekend at Brooks School sets the tone for the rest of the school year, students are in for some serious fun!

Opening weekend, September 9 and 10, was jam-packed with activities for students day and night — all with the goal of kicking things off in a way that new and returning students alike would enjoy, together.

View a gallery of photos from the Opening Weekend party on Saturday at

Sports was the theme of Saturday's festivities, which began with an outdoor barbeque (featuring ribs, chicken wings, grilled chicken, veggie kabobs and corn-on-the-cob) followed by games, amusements and a 9:30 dance DJ-ed by Senior Prefect Jason Gold '18.

"It was a fantastic way to start the year," said student activities coordinator and science teacher Laura Hajdukiewicz P '15, P'17, P'19. "The food was delicious and the activities we'd set up outside on field gave new students an opportunity to get to know each other. They really seemed to enjoy playing spike ball and volleyball. We had kids who played badminton all night!"

The massive "Boulder-Dash" and inflatable basketball and football games drew especially adventurous athletes, but it was the dunk tank that really captured everyone's attention.

Students paid $1 for three chances to hit the bulls-eye that would plunge volunteer faculty members underwater as a crowd of delighted classmates cheered. Head of School John Packard P'18, P'21 and the four other brave volunteers were dunked "a billion times," laughed Hajdukiewicz. "Those teachers were freezing!"

When all was said and done, students raised more than $200 for Hurricane Harvey relief with proceeds from the dunk-tank — and there was more good that came out of it, too. "The dunk tank was a great way for students to see faculty outside of the classroom with everyone, playing games and not taking themselves too seriously," said Hajdukiewicz. "That's a nice message to start the year with, if you think about it."

By the time the dance began in the Frick Dining Hall at 9:30 p.m., "the place was jumping," she added. "It was packed."

And for students not into dancing, the newly renovated student center offered another entertaining outlet: board games and video games. There were five different stations set up for video gamers, a Ping-Pong table for tournaments, and a bookshelf stocked with Guesstures, Twister and other classics.

A pizza delivery and ice cream truck visit finished the night off on a sweet note. "The kids all seemed really happy," noted Hajdukiewicz. "There was something for everyone."

But the fun wasn't over yet. On Sunday, the sports theme continued with a Field Day, including raucous tug-o-war matches, three-legged races and other sports.

View a gallery of photos from Field Day at

"The highlight of the weekend, for me, was watching everyone have fun at the party and dance on Saturday, and on field day," said Melany Blanco '18, one of the 14 student members of the Community Activity Board (CAB) that organized the events and encouraged classmates to wear team jerseys to help get into the spirit. "It just made me happy to see new kids enjoying themselves and making friends. It means a whole lot to me that everyone, especially all of the new students, enjoyed an event that I helped plan."

Blanco and the other fourth-, fifth- and sixth-formers in the CAB came up with the sports theme back in May. "They were really thoughtful asking, 'What could I have done as a new third-former to feel like I'm following the theme but not too uncomfortable?'" explained Hajdukiewicz. "They came up with the jersey idea."

During the summer, CAB members chose which inflatable games they thought their classmates would want to try. "Because they're responsible for deciding what to give their community, they have a lot of buy-in and want the events to succeed," the teacher added. "The kids are really driving this. Plus, they know what their peers like so that's really contributed to the success of student activities."

Every school year, the CAB members change (with the exception of three student leaders), to bring in new ideas. What's next on their agenda? A haunted trail through the woods on campus, followed by a big Halloween dance. "We're probably going to do a casino night and a block party," said Hajdukiewicz. "There's quite a bit already on the books."

To learn about how Brooks School students enjoy their off days with activities on- or off-campus, visit the Weekends Are For Fun page.

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