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Annual Family Weekend and Benefit Auction Give Families “A Taste of Litchfield County” and Life on the Hilltop

Kelly Slonaker

Family and friends of Canterbury students were welcomed to campus on Friday, October 18 and Saturday, October 19 for the annual Family Weekend (formerly Parents’ Weekend). More than 300 guests accompanied their students to classes, practices, and rehearsals to truly experience two full days of life on the hilltop.

Families were greeted on Friday morning with a welcome in the Chapel of Our Lady from Head of School Rachel Stone, who shared her excitement for her first Family Weekend as the parent of a Third Former. Rachel averred, "Every single day we (faculty and staff) draw energy, spirit, joy and love from your kids..." All families were treated to performances by the chorale group and Varsity Voices, led by Choral and Liturgical Music Director Sarah Armstrong.

Over the two days, family members had the opportunity to visit their student’s classes; meet with teachers, advisors, dorm parents and coaches; attend parent-faculty conferences; join students and their friends for meals in the dining hall; participate in college planning sessions; enjoy student musical performances and an art exhibit; and see all our teams compete in home games against Berkshire School.

Following Friday's classes, guests were welcomed to the fifth annual Family Weekend Benefit Auction in David C. Copley ʼ70 Library for the opportunity to meet and mingle with fellow parents and families. The event directly supports the students and School and this year featured fantastic local drinks and eats with the theme, A Taste of Litchfield County. The rustic gourmet menu included beers from Kent Falls Brewing Co. in Kent, CT; liquors from Litchfield Distillery in Litchfield, CT; cheeses from Arethusa Farm in Litchfield, CT; and cured meats, greens and desserts from other local purveyors. Canterbury’s student Contemporary Music Band  provided the soundtrack for the evening, playing several rock and jazz songs, such as Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” and the Eagles’ “Hotel California.”

The School’s own Dean of Faculty Wright Danenbarger served as an entertaining auctioneer and sold hot ticket items such as a stay in a luxury Paris apartment, a week-long trip to a chateau in the Pyrenees, front-row seats for Commencement, and coveted reserved parking spaces at Steele Hall. Overall, the event raised about $35,000.

Director of Advancement Rick Henderson addressed the attendees, saying, “For the last three years, a force has been growing and it’s moving our amazing school forward to new heights. [...] What separates the good schools from great schools are two things: leadership, and the relentless approach to always continue momentum.  And that is where Canterbury is right now: we are already moving and we have  momentum. We have students from all over the globe who thirst for a place in which they can be challenged and applauded, and a place where they learn that values are at the core of all decisions we make in life.”   

The excitement of the Fall Benefit carried over into the weekend as campus transformed into a bustling hub of parents, families, and alumni returning across class years in preparation for Homecoming and the Athletics Hall of Fame Ceremony.

Family Weekend Photos

Benefit Auction Photos