Annual Grandparents and Special Friends Day event creates connectivity, celebrates campus culture


Photo credit: Siena Ferraro

Students, grandparents and special friends mingle in the amphitheater courtyard for Archer’s annual Grandparents and Special Friends Day celebration. The event took place March 23 and 24 over the course of six brief sessions.

By Siena Ferraro, News Editor

Grandparents and special friends of Archer students were invited to campus March 23 and 24 to attend the annual Grandparents and Special Friends Day event. The festivities included student or parent ambassador-led tours, refreshments and activities such as student-grandparent interviews and questionnaires for grandparents and special friends to complete with their students.

Director of Advancement Sarah Rooney was involved in the planning and execution of the event. She said this is the tenth annual occurrence of the event, and 120 grandparents and special friends attended this year’s celebration.

The event, which was split into six 35-minute sessions, took place over the course of two days in the amphitheater and followed an updated, post-COVID-19 structure enforced last year. The updated format invites grandparents and special friends of both upper and middle school students to attend. Previously, the event was only open to grandparents and special friends of middle schoolers. Rooney said this inclusionary change was originally instated last year when the event’s format was reimagined.

“We’ve decided to make it three events over two days just to get as many grandparents in here as we can,” Rooney said. “The purpose of the event is for grandparents to get an opportunity to … find out more about what their granddaughters are doing at school every day.”

Seeing how they’ve grown and what they’re doing … It’s amazing to watch it over the years.

— Gene Matzkin, grandfather of Parker Keston ('25)

Parker Keston (’25) and her grandparents, Sandy and Gene Matzkin, have participated in the event for three years. Keston said she looks forward to Grandparents and Special Friends Day each year because of the exciting and unique opportunity it creates for her family members to engage in campus culture and catch a glimpse of her typical school day.

“My favorite part about Grandparents Day is just having grandparents on campus,” Keston said. “Giving them the opportunity … to see where we go to school and where we spend a lot of our time … is really important.”

Keston also said she values the opportunity Grandparents and Special Friends Day provides for her grandparents to become briefly involved in their granddaughter’s high school experience for the day.

“I think that it’s good for them to get to see not only how my school has evolved, but how I’ve grown and changed along [the way],” Keston said.

Sandy Matzkin said the layout of the event — from the campus tour to light refreshments in the amphitheater courtyard — was enjoyable and easygoing, and she appreciated the opportunity to take in the campus’ architecture and atmosphere.

“We took a tour, and we were visiting with our granddaughters and having a snack,” Sandy Matzkin said. “It’s been lovely.”

Gene Matzkin said he awaits the event each year and especially values watching his three granddaughters, Tessa Matzkin (’28), Riley Keston (’29) and Parker Keston (’25), continue to grow each year. He said he appreciates the space the event provides for grandparents to connect with their grandchildren in their daily school setting.

“Seeing how they’ve grown and what they’re doing … it’s amazing to watch it over the years,” Gene Matzkin said. “[Seeing] activities that the school’s involved with and hearing today … it’s amazing.”