Families from near and far descended on The Bluff to celebrate UP’s annual Junior Parents & Families Weekend.
The weekend kicked off Friday, Feb. 17 with the Opening Reception and Trivia Night. Over the course of the next two days, parents and students were able to attend several events including panels with alumni who shared the paths they took after graduation, The President’s Luncheon, The Wind Symphony/Chapel Choir Performance, Brewfest and a UP Men’s Basketball game.
The Beacon got to talk to some of the families who made it this weekend and why parents weekend is important to them.
Amy Brandt ‘18 stood by the heaters at Brewfest with her beaming parents Rhonda and Jeff, sipping on beer to continue Amy’s 21st Birthday celebration.
The Brandt’s visited from Sumner, Wash. Jeff told the Beacon it was important for them to visit, “Because our daughter turned 21 on Sunday!” followed by cheers from Amy’s mom. Their weekend was full of fun like visiting the Twilight Room, the food carts in St. John’s and they swapped the basketball game for a fun birthday dinner downtown as a family.
“It’s been a fantastic school,” Rhonda said. “They really involve the parents.”
Rhonda said she saw several professors around campus this weekend who knew Brandt by name and took time to introduce themselves.
Agustin Horblit, Brian Horblit and their son Ben came from Centennial, Colo. to take part in Junior Parents weekend with their son Harrison Horblit (‘18).
“Any chance we get to see Harrison is good,” Brian Horblit said.
With Horblit’s busy course load and work schedule, family time is very important. Agustin said she was looking forward to having quality family time. Ben added that his “number one plan is to eat pie” at Random order pies on Alberta.
Horblit said he chose UP because of the “outdoors and the environment of the Northwest… Colorado is kind of dry and dismal so I wanted to get out, I was ready to grow up a little bit and take on more responsibilities.” His parents were happy to see him doing so well at UP.
Mary Pat Reilly, Gary Garza and their cousins made the trek from San Luis Obispo County in Calif. to spend the weekend with their daughter, Graceanne Garza.
“I haven’t been here [UP] since we brought Graceanne to school,” Mary said. “I wanted to see where she was living and all the changes the University has made and the agenda[for Parents Weekend] looked pretty terrific so we wanted to be apart of it.”
Her family joked that they wanted to check that she still was going to school here. Garza said it’s been fun showing her mom around campus after years of changes to areas like The Pilot House or the campus’ new recreation center. She said showing her mom the nursing simulation lab was one of her favorite parts.
“Freshman year we didn’t know much about the campus… now we can explore what’s here,” Garza said.
Robin and Ron Sosin of Meridian, Idaho looked forward to spending time with their son Robbie Sosin. Robin said the weekend was a great chance to see how Robbie is doing and spend some time with him.
Ron joked that, “this only happens once you know, well hopefully he only has junior year once.”
They attended the basketball game and were planning to explore Portland a bit on Sunday after the Sunday Brunch. The Sosin’s said having Robbie at UP has been easy, just a short flight from home but plenty of room for him to have independence. Sosin’s parents said it has “allowed him to do his own thing without [them] being in his backyard.”
Matt Goodman Jr. and his parents Priscilla and Chris from Beaverton, Oregon were thrilled to spend some family time together this weekend.
“We love UP!” Priscilla said cheerfully. “It was nice to meet Matt’s friends who we’ve heard about. The students are so polite and sincere and it’s nice to see that as a parent.”
The family may live far from UP but they were impressed with what the school was doing for their son. Priscilla could not have been happier with the connections her son is making and the experiences he is having.
For junior Jonathan Donkers and his dad Eric from the Bay Area, this weekend is a very important time.
“It’s a point where he is making career decisions and I like to see where he is at in his progress and what he’s been working on for the last two and half years,” Eric said. “We got a good sense with the faculty and with the friends he is associating with, the priests, and everybody he is associating with. We just wanted to be part of that environment and see what he is experiencing.”
Jonathan was preparing to show off his talents for his parents at the Basketball game.
“He is in the pep band so we are going to get a chance to watch him play,” Eric said proudly.
Eric was amazed at how many connections Jonathan is making with faculty and staff.
“They all seem to know him,” he said, “We walk into Shiley and Dr. Kennedy is like ‘Hey Jonathan how are you doing?’ To me, that gave me a really comfortable feeling that he is making the relationships he needs to be making.”
“Basically we crashed parents weekend,” Juli Plourde said to the laughter of her daughter, junior Meredith Mcconkey. James Plourde even recommended the headline for this article be, “Tacoma couple crashes parents weekend.”
Though they did not register early enough to be able to go to some of the weekend’s activities allotted for more family time, the Tacoma family came this weekend to support their daughter, have fun with her, and get an idea of what her life is like here.
“Her junior year is coming to an end so it’s great to be able to get to experience the college scene, after she’s gone we probably won’t,” James said.
Juli Plourde said on top of hanging out downtown the family has been doing “a lot of talking, soul searching and catching up about life.”