The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas


St. Mark's School of Texas
10600 Preston Road Dallas, TX 75230
The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas


The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas


A sudden change in tradition

How Grandparents’ Day feels when mine are no longer with me
(c) Scott Peak Photography
Noah Cathey

An 8:30 a.m. class is occupied with about three times as many people as usual.

The pace of the Quad is a bit slower than normal.

Passing periods are now 10 minutes long and classes only half an hour.

On the last day before Thanksgiving break, our community comes together in celebration of Grandparents’ day.

For most Marksmen, a number that used to include myself, that half-day is one they look forward to. A chance to share a piece of the school we love with the people we love.

But it’s hard to think about Grandparents’ Day for the Marksmen who don’t have grandparents anymore, especially when they have passed away recently.

This year, I will join that number.

I finished middle school with three living grandparents. I will finish high school with none.

Since I was accepted into St. Mark’s in 2020, I have seen all of the grandparents I’ve known pass away. Each of them experienced declining health challenges over several months and years, resulting in death. Obviously, each of the experiences were individually stressful and sorrowful. But having three of the people I knew and loved the most leaving in such quick succession, with two in five months, is hard to say the least. It wrecked the stability of my life. It makes death all the more real. And although my juvenile immortality was shattered when a close friend died at 9-years old, only few things are more mindset-altering for an adolescent than losing a grandparent.

And about a month ago, when I saw an envelope from St. Mark’s addressed to my maternal grandmother with the words Join us on Grandparents’ Day printed on the front, it felt like a sucker punch knocked me to the floor. 

My grandmother stayed with us after the passing of my grandfather in 2020. Living there for almost two years, we had her mail delivered to our house. Even when she moved into a senior living center for the last 8 months of her life, we still received her mail (except for the Dallas Morning News she loved to read everyday).

I guess in the busyness of it all my mom forgot to remove her from the contact list after she passed in April. Needless to say, that envelope was unexpected.

All the emotions came onto me at once, frustratedly so. I grew morose when thinking about the idea that on one of the most celebrated days of the St. Mark’s year many students will go without the titular object present with them. Amongst my uniquely-pessimistic feelings and unrelenting thoughts, two questions rose above the rest.

What would Grandparents’ Day feel like this year? Should I even go?

Those questions are weird to contemplate. One, because Grandparents’ Days, both at 10600 and my other schools, have provided memories that I will forever cherish. But also, I know that some of my schoolmates have never had the opportunity to have their grandparents walk their halls and sit in their classrooms at all. Even still, the possibility of sitting in a class on Grandparents’ Day when it is now impossible for them to join me is somehow frustrating. At least some students’ grandparents are absent because they live far away, and many of them will visit their family over one of the next two holidays. 

I no longer have that luxury. 

Taking a broader look at the idea of the day, I can see how students can feel desolate when they have to sit in class as teachers go around the room asking students who they have brought to class and they have no one sitting next to them.This is why I thought long and hard if I should even come. After talking with my parents and faculty I trust, I realized: What kind of leader, what kind of Marksman, would I be for not coming to school in fear of feeling uncomfortable?

In pondering on that, I remembered that our community is set up in such a way that the moments where we might resort to judgment or isolation are the ones where we come together the most. 

This year on Grandparents’ Day, I’ll find solace in being the blue shirt looking to explore community in new ways. I’ll meet the grandparents of my senior buddy. I’ll get the chance to celebrate the Marksmen who might be sharing their school with family members for the first time like I was able to for the last 14 years.

As for my own grandparents, I think they’d want me to go, too.

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About the Contributor
Noah Cathey, Design Director