The recipe for a great back-to-school event calls for mild, sunny weather; plenty of shade for relaxing; a bountiful spread of handheld, family-friendly fare; and, of course, around 1,500 of your closest friends from all across the Denver metro area.
Every one of these ingredients was on hand August 22, 2022, for Colorado Academy’s annual All-School Picnic to kick off the school year. As sunlight filtered through the historic trees surrounding CA’s Sculpture Garden and Campus Center green on the evening before the official first day of the 2022-2023 school year, families spread out among groupings of colorful Adirondack chairs to enjoy picnic favorites prepared by Chef Paul Worley and his food service team.
As always, there was no agenda for this come-as-you-are tradition. Parents new to CA asked questions and learned the ropes from veterans, making fast friends in the process. 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.
It was, indeed, the perfect way to gently fade out one season and fade in the next.
Friends old and new
Families of Lower School students had arrived on campus first for the celebration, invited to a late afternoon “meet & 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.
Lower Schoolers then ran for the playgrounds, where they spent much of the rest of the evening.
Middle Schoolers and their families arrived next, having participated in their own welcome session, and finally Upper School students began to gather after completing their afternoon sports practices. Chairs were pulled together into cozy, multi-age circles, creating a relaxed vibe perfect for making new acquaintances.
A close-knit community
Walking from group to group, Head of School Dr. Mike Davis greeted students and families alike, as did members of CA’s Advancement Office, who distributed campus directories, event brochures, and other essentials to parents. Many other employees joined in the festivities—some as parents of their own CA students, and others simply to share in the joy of the occasion and begin building the close relationships that define the CA community.
“Events like the All-School Picnic truly make CA special,” said Davis. “Whether we are students, parents, alumni, or faculty and staff, coming together keeps this the incredible place it has been for so long.”
Supplies of tasty hamburgers, hot dogs, bratwursts, veggie options, and watermelon held strong throughout the picnic, and popsicles were a favorite of guests of all ages.
But it was the conversations, laughter, and smiles that kept this celebration going long past its expected end time, as families made connections that would sustain them throughout the coming year at CA—and likely much longer than that.