A Picnic Like No Other

It’s a good thing Colorado Academy’s campus features so many historic trees. At the 2023 All-School Picnic, the traditional kickoff to the new year that occurs the evening before the official first day of school, families crowded together in every available tree-shaded spot in and around the central Sculpture Garden—in lounge chairs, on blankets, or right on the grass—to stay cool in the midst of a stretch of 100-degree days that made it hard to believe summer was already “over.” 

But the nearly 2,000 guests, fueled by back-to-school excitement, made the best of the weather as they enjoyed a relaxed get-together whose dual centerpieces were Chef Paul Worley’s unending supply of picnic favorites and frozen treats and the welcome chance for families to make connections that sustain the CA community year after year.

As always, there was no agenda for this come-as-you-are tradition. Parents and guardians new to CA asked questions and learned the ropes from veterans, making fast friends in the process. Head of School Dr. Mike Davis went from conversation to conversation, facilitating introductions and sharing ideas about education. Families stopped by tables displaying some of CA’s many athletic trophies to chat with Interim Athletic Director Jon Hill and his team. Representatives from the Advancement Office made sure everyone got their official CA Directory and school-year calendar. And of course, kids had fun getting back into the swing: Younger children joyfully explored the Lower School playgrounds and fields, while Middle and Upper School students reunited with classmates, sharing hugs, summer stories, and hopes for the fall.

Families of Lower School students had arrived on campus first for the celebration, invited to a late afternoon “Meet and Greet” hosted by Principal Angie Crabtree. Children eagerly explored their new homerooms, got acquainted with their new teachers, located their lockers and cubbies, posed for pictures for their parents, and encountered friends old and new as they found their way through the bright and welcoming hallways of the Lower School and out to the beloved playground.

Many Middle Schoolers, too, had come to CA earlier in the day for an orientation, where they met their new Principal, Nick Malick, whose own children start Middle School at CA this year. Like so many other newcomers, the members of the Malick family were quickly gathered up by the new friends and neighbors they encountered at the All-School Picnic.

Upper Schoolers, some fresh from their early-season sports practices, reunited with their besties and pulled together circles of Adirondack chairs to swap stories and summer pictures. 

Everyone was happy to see the faculty and staff members in attendance—many with their own kids in tow. Parents and students alike were excited to reconnect with favorite teachers and look ahead to the coming days and weeks full of learning and new experiences.

As Dr. Davis wrote in a back-to-school message to families, “What makes Colorado Academy so special is that we educate young people as a community—we learn from each other as we all bring different perspectives to our shared conversation. This year, I hope we all lean into our mission of creating curious, kind, courageous, and adventurous learners and leaders.”