Holly and Rob Howley will finish their two-year stint as co-presidents of the Loomis Chaffee Parents Assocation (LCPA) when their son Will graduates this year. Another son, John, graduated in 2021.
“For my husband and I, it has meant being involved in our sons’ educations and really finding a connection to Loomis we might not have had,” Holly said. “It has allowed us to feel at home there, along with our kids, and just to give back. We are appreciative of our sons’ experience, so it feels good to volunteer for Loomis.”
They joined the LCPA right away. One thing led to another.
“First of all, Lisa Ross [director of alumni and parent relations] is the cornerstone to it all,” Holly said. “She does an excellent job of engaging everyone. The board has defined roles, and everyone is incredibly active. Our role is more about keeping the parts moving and some of the networking opportunities.”
The mission of the LCPA is to facilitate parent involvement in the Loomis Chaffee community to enhance the lives of the students, faculty, and staff.
“The parents association adds to the community at Loomis,” Holly said. “I’ve gotten to know lots of faculty and staff, and it is a meaningful way of showing support to those who are important in the lives of our children.”
The way the LCPA conducts its meetings has changed, but not the commitment. COVID-19 dictated that meetings be virtual, which gave the LCPA greater exposure, allowing any parent from anywhere to take part. Even now, most meetings are online, though some are hybrid.
“For most meetings the last couple of years we have had 100 or more parents from all over the world, and it used to be 20 or 30,” Holly said.
On an early March day, Tina Saunders and Kyoko Sorensen of the LCPA had smiles on their faces. So, too, did the faculty and staff.
It was a faculty/staff appreciation day, one of three occasions during the school year when the LPCA gives thank-you gifts: apple pies in the fall, breads in the winter, and plants in the spring.
Kyoko is in her third year chairing the faculty/staff appreciation events. Tina has been the chair of Winterfest, a weeklong celebration, since 2018. Winterfest and faculty/staff appreciation days are just two of the many things the LCPA does throughout the school year.
“The thing about the parents association, I feel that whenever someone volunteers for the first time, they are hooked,” Tina said. “They come back, maybe as a chairperson, or just giving their time.”
That is what happened with Tina and Kyoko. Both have been involved with the lives of their children at school for years. Tina has a junior, Melody, and another daughter, Lilly, who graduated in 2021. Kyoko has a senior, Zoe.
“Once I started to attend meetings and they started to talk about all that they do, I found my home in Winterfest,” Tina said.
Each day during Winterfest, which this year was January 23–28, there are special treats for students, faculty, and staff, ranging from ice cream to a baked potato bar to mac ‘n cheese with about any kind of topping imaginable. The week culminates with a semiformal dance for the students on a Saturday.
“When it comes to the treats, I just love seeing the excitement on the kids’ faces,” Tina said. “They are so happy and appreciative. And the faculty and staff, too.”
A friend of Kyoko’s told her that she should come to one of the faculty/staff appreciation days. It was not long before Kyoko was the chair of the event. This is her third year.
“It is great to be able to see the faces of the faculty and staff,” Kyoko said. “They do so much for the school every single day. It is nice to be able to give back to them.”
She also is thankful for the guidance given to boarding students.
“They are independent, but there are a lot of adults in the community,” Kyoko said. “There are eyes on them to guide them and look after them. But their parents are not there, so there is a responsibility on the student. They also have their own little community they live in 24/7, and that independence gives them a steppingstone in preparing for college.”