By Peyton Wagner
After meeting Jo Ann Douglas, the former Head of School of Buffalo Seminary, at a job fair in Boston, Massachusetts in February of 2010, Kyle and Douglas Hopkins set out to embark on one of the biggest adventures of their lives.
From the day they joined the SEM community, over 11 years ago, the two have filled a number of roles throughout the departments. Mrs. Hopkins started her time at SEM as a dance teacher for the school’s ArtsEye Program and has been able to pursue many of her passions by becoming the health and leadership teacher, community service advisor, founder of SEMachords, class dean of every grade, and advisor for multiple clubs including ConnectLife, Teen Relationship Violence Awareness, and Ski Club.
Mr. Hopkins has stayed true to his origins and has stayed a teacher of the history department since his arrival at SEM but has also coached junior varsity lacrosse for the past eight years, been the faculty advisor for the School Government Association, the history department chair for the past three years, and also club advisor for Outdoor Club, Gay-Straight Alliance, and Ski Club.
Working at SEM seemed to make the most sense for the two as they were looking for a place to settle with their daughters after their seven-year boat journey. SEM was the perfect fit for their daughters to go to high school and the four of them were able to spend one year together at SEM at the same time in 2013 which “felt like home.”
It is no secret that SEM is known for its close-knit community and impactful traditions, and those are some of the very qualities that the Hopkins’ have especially appreciated working here. Mrs. Hopkins noted that her favorite SEM tradition is Hornet Jacket Day because she “appreciates that the faculty are involved in it, the girl power-ness, and the space to get up and perform together.”
“Senior presentations are a really fantastic opportunity. It’s become even more of a forum for seniors to just shine and to share really sophisticated thinking and experiences in a brave way that’s helpful to the community,” said Mr. Hopkins.
Not only have Mr. and Mrs. Hopkins made numerous contributions to the SEM community, but they have also extended their helping hands to the greater Buffalo community, as well. “Most of the work I do has to do with my work at SEM doing community service,” said Mrs. Hopkins. It is through their initial contact that SEM has connected with two with organizations such as St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy and Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper. Mr. Hopkins has also served as a volunteer board member for six years with Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper and has served for three years on the board of the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site.
After eleven years, Mr. and Mrs. Hopkins have made the decision to leave Buffalo Seminary and embark on the next chapter of their lives. When asked what they will miss the most about SEM, Mrs. Hopkins replied, “A lot. The sense of community with adults and students and the daily girl power vitamin.”
“I will miss the music and the theater. I’ll miss hearing students practicing and performing, SEMachords practicing, and music collectives in morning meetings,” said Mr. Hopkins. “And the vibe of the whole school when they’re in production and the excellence of what the students have produced year after year, season after season.”
It is no secret that the impact the Hopkins have made on the school and the entire community will never be forgotten, and their legacy will continue to live on within the walls of 205 Bidwell Parkway.