By Jordan Gavens and Lara Sokoloff
When some parents drive their children to school, they drop them off at the entrance, tell them to have a great day and then drive away.
Yet, while some students are getting their backpacks out of the trunk, their parents are grabbing briefcases full of tests, quizzes and worksheets that they stayed up all night grading. After locking the doors to the car, the parents walk into school right beside their child.
Although many high school students consider school a six-hour escape from their parents, a group of sophomores are children of faculty or administors, “the Fac-Brats.”
Graham Cairns ’12, son of Dean Vanna Cairns, Bella Gonzalez ’12, daughter of history teacher Greg Gonzalez, Olivia Chuba ’12 daughter of History Department Head Katherine Holmes-Chuba, and twins Marka and Xochi Maberry-Gaulke ’12, daughters of Visual Arts Department Head Cheri Gaulke, comprise the ‘Fac-Brats.’ Sophomores Hank Doughan, Josh Hearlihy and Will Tobias also have parents who are members of the faculty.
Before coming to Harvard-Westlake, the Fac-Brats met when they were toddlers, in day care and at a pool party organized by their parents. Some became fast friends, said Graham Cairns. Especially for those who attended smaller eleschools like Cairns did, and did not know many kids upon arriving at Harvard-Westlake, meeting the Fac-Brats before starting seventh grade made the transition that much easier, Cairns said. Without having met one another previously, Cairns believes they would all be friends, but most likely not as close.
The Fac Brats often play a favorite board game, “Settlers of Katan,” bake vegan food for Marka, and watch the movie “Mean Girls”. They also spend time together before school in Chalmers, after school on the patio above the field, and eating lunch behind Rugby.
Although he sometimes feel as if she ignores him, Cairns generally enjoys being at school with his mom.
“I like it. If I’m feeling sick, I go to her office to get Airborne,” he said. “If I need note cards, she has note cards.”
Cairns isn’t thinking about college yet, although his mother is an expert on the subject. Though when it is time for Cairns to think about the future, he plans on speaking with his dean, Michelle Bird, before consulting his mother. His mom didn’t attend his dean meeting with Bird, but his dad did.
While many sophomores struggle with the World and Europe II, Gonzalez finds comfort in always having her dad around to ask questions. For Gonzalez, her father is a reliable resource for her to turn to for history help when her own teacher is unavailable, she said.
“It’s also nice to see him because I know some kids in our grade have dads who are gone for weeks, so it’s nice because I love him,” Gonzalez said.
Xochi Gaulke and her mother share an interest in art. During the summer, they make family reunion videos and edit them. Gaulke feels that the time she and her mother and she spend on making family videos is like her own personal video art class, except at her house. She has taken her mother’s summer Video Art class for the past four years, so she chose not to take it as an elective this year. She plans on taking it as a senior though, and her mom will be her teacher.
Along with meeting her fellow Fac-Brats, Gaulke already had relationships with some faculty members before coming to the school as a seventh grader in 2006. The majority of the art department attended her parents’ wedding. Photography teachers Alan Sasaki and Kevin O’Malley even took the pictures and wedding portraits.
“It was kind of funny the first couple weeks because my teachers would realize that I’m her daughter and then say things like, ‘Ooh, I remember you when you were this tall’ or I remember when your mom was still pregnant with you and your sister!” Gaulke said.