Heide Hotchkiss, whose combination of high expectations, practical lessons, creative fun, and hugs has prepared scores of new students for boarding school success, received the 2019 Jane Lockhart Service Award from Foxcroft Head of School Catherine S. McGehee on Thursday (May 23) at the School’s annual Awards Assembly.
A mainstay of Foxcroft’s residential and student life programs for nearly two decades, Hotchkiss becomes the eighth recipient of the Award, which carries a cash gift and honors an employee who “exemplifies a personal commitment to and understanding of all of our students — with an emphasis on all.” It was established by Foxcroft parents and students in appreciation of Jane Lockhart, a beloved and dedicated Foxcroft staff member for 50 years (1966-2016).
Hotchkiss came to Foxcroft to be housemother of Dillon Dormitory in 2000. She began working with Foxcroft’s youngest cohort, the freshmen when Dillon became home to the ninth grade in 2009 and moved with them to Reynolds two years later. In addition to aligning ninth-grade curriculum goals with residential experiences, she introduced students to The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens along with many fun dormitory traditions. Since 2016, she has also been Residential Coordinator, organizing dorm supplies, special events, and weekend activities as well as managing budgets, housekeeping, maintenance, and security for the dormitories.
“Working with our whips and prefects, she helps set our freshmen up for success by keeping consistency for study hall and bedtime,” said McGehee. “She teaches vital life skills from using a vacuum, washing clothes, and cleaning up after cooking in Roomies [the student center kitchen] to resolving roommate issues. She is also there with a reassuring hug when a new girl is homesick or has a bad day.”
Perhaps most importantly, noted McGehee, “Our students will tell you that Miss Heide is no pushover. It’s hard to get one by her; whether it be room inspections or sign-in, she holds students to clear and high expectations that help them live on their own.”
Hotchkiss’s contributions to student life, however, go beyond dorm life. A talented seamstress, she creates wonderful costumes for student productions, makes enchanting decorations for mixers and special events, and — in a pinch — alters and repairs clothing for both students and faculty. She serves as an advisor to the Freshman Class and the Foxcroft Christian Fellowship (FCF), spearheads innumerable arts and crafts projects to enhance the community, and sorts endless castoff clothing, books, and more for distribution to charitable organizations. Plus, her Dutch Blitz card tournaments are legendary.
Previous winners of the Jane Lockhart Service Award include Lockhart, school nurses Penny Alderman and Yvette McCarty, Safety officer Warren Payne, registrar/dorm parent Patty Boswell, coach Fred McMane, and Brenda Trussell, who runs the school store and mailroom.