This year the ASB (Associated Student Body) pushed for the return of Owls Nest. Owls Nest is a time for students to gather with owls in other grades and spend time getting to know each other and building relationships across divisions. Owls Nest is not a new idea, in fact, pre-covid it was a part of the school rhythm. When Evan S. (’24) was running for ASB president last year, another candidate mentioned a desire to bring back the gatherings and that got him thinking about just how realistic the idea was.  

“I absolutely wanted to bring it back,” said Evan. After meeting with Krishna Davda, Assistant Upper School Head, and Mike Davidson, Middle School Head, the idea was put in motion. The best part is that the new schedule already has wellness time woven into the schedule on Tuesdays during Flex block and this fully aligns with the wellness pillar of the strategic plan.

“A huge part of Well-Being here on the Overlake campus is belonging and this was a great idea to bring back to life,” says Dr. Samantha Hillyer (‘01), Director of Health and Wellness.

“The true intention of Owls Nest is to create a time when Middle Schoolers can have a buddy to look up to in Upper School and Upper Schoolers to remember that there is more to life than grades and college. Upper Schoolers often get bogged down in all their work and forget what Middle School was like,” says Evan. “ That is why it is truly wellness; it is a mental break from all other stressors in life to remember what it was like to relax. Yet more than that, it creates a bridge between the upper school and middle school, which is very rare.”

During the Owls Nest times, students have a variety of activities to choose from including open gym, GOLA, board games, or anything else the homerooms might choose. There is a lot of freedom to spend time in a way the kids will most enjoy. During the first Owls Nest earlier in the year when the weather was warmer there were Middle and Upper Schoolers tossing a football around the flagpole and during the most recent gathering students were playing GOLA together, playing board games, and having lunch together.

“In my advisory, my 12th-grade students are loving getting to know their 8th-grade buddies. One of our sessions we had a wonderful time playing games altogether and we had so much fun laughing over Spoons and solving the NYT crossword that day!” says Dr. Hillyer (’01). “I am so happy to see so many students interacting with each other, making new friends and connections. We are definitely looking forward to more of these sessions we have scheduled throughout the year.”