Robert Matz ’18
This past weekend Woodberry hosted roughly 90 boys and their families for the annual Invite Back Weekend, one final chance for accepted students to visit Woodberry. Starting with a reception for prospective students and their parents at the Barbee Center, this weekend aims to show visitors an authentic twenty-four hours of Woodberry. This year was another resounding success as the whole Woodberry community came together and put their best foot forward.
The event began Friday afternoon with perspective students and their families checking in down the hill at the Barbee Center. After mingling with the admissions staff and other prospective Tigers, the prospects were then taken over to the Squash Pavilion for some “icebreaker” activities to help introduce everyone. While Prefects and PLC members led these activities, parents had the opportunity to introduce themselves to one another. Following these activities, both prospects and their parents were ushered back to the Barbee Center where they enjoyed a catered meal.
After dinner, the activities fair took place. The activities fair offered prospective students and their parents an opportunity to grasp the wide variety of extracurricular activities Woodberry has to offer. These activities ranged from the paintball club to the soccer team and were manned by both students and faculty who are directly involved. Once the events in the Barbee concluded, the prospective students had some time with their hosts to do as they pleased. While some students relaxed on dorm, other partook in one of Woodberry’s favorite pastimes, One-Club golf.
Later on in the evening, the visiting families found their way to the auditorium for an address from Headmaster Dr. Byron Hulsey. His talk was concluded with performances by both the Jazz Ensemble and the Woodberry Dozen. Following a brief break, the prospective students and their parents returned to the auditorium for a discussion on the Four Pillars of Woodberry. The discussion was lead by Headmaster Dr. Hulsey, Athletic Director Mr. Blundin, Dean of Faculty Dr. Boesen, Assistant Headmaster and Dean of Students Mr. Coleman, and Chaplain Dr. Smith. The address expanded on some of Woodberry’s core values and defining characteristics. Upon its conclusion, the prospective Tigers were reunited with their hosts and left their parents for the night. Parents stayed behind in the auditorium for an interactive panel discussion lead by the parents of current Tigers.
Leaving the Four Pillars address, prospects and their hosts joined the rest of the student body in the gym for an epic Student vs. Faculty basketball showdown. The student team was composed of a mix of seniors who were selected as “All Stars” from the winter recreational basketball league, “Average Joes”. The game was tremendously entertaining, however the faculty pulled off a decisive win led by former Wake Forest basketball star and current basketball coach Craig Dawson. As the basketball game came to an end, many hosts took their prospects to the Fir Tree for quick bite to eat. Woodberry also treated the prospects and their hosts to pizza following the game. Soon after, both students and prospects began to settle down as lights out approached.
After an uneventful night on dorm, the prospects packed their belongings and headed for the dining hall. After a standard Woodberry breakfast, the prospects were reunited with their parents and began their scheduled activities. The activities began with rotations through classes that provided both parents and prospects an insight into the key areas of a Woodberry education: Math, Science, English, History, Foreign Language and Fine Arts. Concluding just before lunch, the sessions led into a final address by Dr. Hulsey and Senior Prefect Max Johns. Parents and students attended the speeches separately, one group at the chapel and the other on the steps of the Walker building, and were reconnected shortly after. Following the closing remarks, parents and students were welcomed to lunch in the Terry Dining Hall. Prospective Tiger families left campus with what was hopefully nothing short of a resoundingly positive experience.
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