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Remembering our playing fields Muthu Panchanatham and Vishnu Kannan

Rothschild Performing Arts Center

“My favorite memory dancing at the Rothschild Performing Arts Center would have to be the finale of the last performance of Remixed and Reimagined. Dancing with the whole cast was an amazing way to conclude months of weekly practices and an amazing show. I remember when the curtains had closed, everyone started celebrating with hugs and congratulations, and it was a really happy moment.” - Eileen Ma (10)

Spinning and leaping across the black wooden floor, the dancer catapults into the air with a smile on her face, effortlessly executing the complex maneuver. As she finishes her performance and ends with a gracious bow, the background music fades, replaced with the raucous cheers and applause from the audience, now on their feet. The velvet curtains close on the dancers and the audience gradually settles back into their seats, eagerly awaiting the next act on the grand stage.

Opened in February 2018 after over a year and half of construction, the Rothschild Performing Arts Center (RPAC) is the center of Harker’s music, dance, and theatrical scene. In addition to numerous class, rehearsal, and dressing rooms, the RPAC contains the Patil Theater, which can seat up to 463 people. The theater is outfitted with a hydraulic orchestra pit, which was put in place to provide the best possible acoustics for musical performances, and a professional full fly tower system, which gives a stage crew the ability to execute changes in lighting and scenery in a more efficient manner. The stage crew’s enhancements complement the students, furthering the effect of each performance. In the Patil Theater, performers evoke emotion and engage the audience, demonstrating their skills in front of hundreds of people.

Davis Field

“My favorite memory on Davis Field was when we won our first NorCal game in penalty kicks, and all the fans rushed the field. You could feel the tension right before we won, but after the last goal, everyone was gathered around our team in the center of the field, laughing and cheering. We were really grateful to have the fans’ support and it was amazing to see our community come together that night.” - Ryan Tobin (12)

Planting his left foot firmly in the turf and swinging smoothly with his right, the striker masterfully directs the ball past the goalkeeper and into the top right corner of the goal, sending black and brown granules of infill flying into the air in the process. The team celebrates one of the many goals scored on Davis Field by meeting him at the 50 yard line, where the Harker eagle resides.

Inaugurated on Sept. 14, 2007, Davis Field is home to Harker’s soccer, football, and lacrosse matches. Named after development council members John and Christine Davis, the field spans 75,000 ft² and is flanked by bleachers on both sides. After 11 years of wear and tear, Davis Field was renovated in the summer before the 2018-19 academic year. The aging turf was replaced, and a new and more sustainable infill, consisting of sand, cork and coconut husk, was added, providing the field the added benefit of being able to dissipate heat faster and ultimately lessen fatigue. By decreasing the impact the turf has on players, athletes can practice for extended periods of time and put in more effort, resulting in better play overall. From Homecoming to CCS playoff games, the passion and commitment of Harker student athletes always shines through on Davis Field.

Zhang Gymnasium

“My favorite memory [from the gym] was the moment we won CCS. Everyone just came together and all of our hard work as a team paid off. You can see that from our faces in the pictures of the moment we won. We wanted it for each other as well as our seniors, coaches and for everyone who supported us this season.” - Tara Ozdemir (11)

The squeaking of shoes fills the air, as the libero makes a diving move to the right, guiding the opponent’s serve towards the setter. Tracking the pass down, the setter jumps into the air and pushes the ball smoothly towards the outside hitter, who swings down the line, sending the ball rebounding off the pristine floor of the Zhang Gymnasium untouched for a Harker point. The crowd erupts into celebration, as the team huddles together on their side of the court, readying themselves for the next point.

In the center of the Athletic Center resides Zhang Gymnasium, where volleyball and basketball athletes have competed for years since its opening in August of 2017. During the court’s construction, games were held in the middle school gym with fewer spectators. Now, the athletic center’s retractable bleachers have an immense capacity for friends, family, and teachers to watch athletes play. During school meetings, the ASB president can address the entire student body and faculty from center court. To optimize space, a drop down divider can split the official court into two, providing multiple teams the ability to practice without interference. While most students are at home in the evenings, basketball and volleyball athletes are still in the Zhang Gymnasium, practicing for their next match and putting in the work to improve their game.

Singh Aquatic Center

“One of my favorite memories at Singh Aquatic Center was playing against Cupertino on senior night. The game meant a lot to our team because when we played Cupertino earlier in the season, we lost by one in a very close game. What made this game special was having many people in the stands to support our seniors in their last home game. Being able to finally beat Cupertino was a great feeling and doing it on senior night made it that much better.” - Thomas Wisdom (10)

A spray of icy water flies through the air as the player grasps at the ball, innocently floating above the water’s surface. When he reaches the ball, he grips it with one hand and glances around the pool. He picks out a teammate in the turquoise water and passes the ball. As soon as the ball leaves his hand, he makes his way towards the opponent’s goal, swimming with laser-like focus. He calls for the ball again and receives it from his teammate. Raising himself out of the water, he winds up his arm and launches the ball so that it skips under the keeper’s outstretched arm and into the floating goal for a point.

Located in between Davis Field and Shah Hall on the Harker Campus, the Singh Aquatic Center was opened in January 2008. Home to Harker’s swimming meets and water polo games, the Aquatic Center contains 13 swimming lanes with a total of 10 with race blocks, raised platforms from which swimmers typically begin their races. In addition, the pool is outfitted with a solar heating system, used to maintain/modify the water temperature as needed, as well as a system of electronically interlinked sensors connected to an Omega Timing Clock, which allow for races to be timed more precisely. The grit and drive of Harker student-athletes is always on display at the Singh Aquatic Center, as they strive to compete at the highest level possible despite the icy chills of the pool water.

Blackford Track

“One of my favorite memories from the track is when we played capture the flag together on the field and had pizza after. Protecting the “flag” from each other in capture the flag strengthened team bonds, and eating pizza while chatting helped foster many friendships that I still have today.” - Angela Gao (11)

Breathing hard and sweating in the heat, the runner pushes herself to her limits, struggling to stay on her feet and keep pushing forward. Everytime her foot lands, a cloud of dust rises from the sandy track, adding to the difficulty of the run. With only chalk lines and a cracked cement curb to guide her, the runner focuses straight ahead and eliminates all distractions. As she rounds the curve and spots the finish line 100 meters ahead, newfound energy courses through her, giving her the strength she needs to start sprinting once more and achieve a personal best.

Track athletes and P.E. classes have accumulated many miles while running on the Blackford track, a short drive from the Upper School. Sand surrounds a grassy field, forming a large oval track approximately 400m long. A cement barrier separates the grass and gopher holes from the beige sand particles. Track athletes stretch and warm up on the field, cautiously avoiding unseen divots in the grass. The sand causes bad starts and worse times, but it also adds an element of difficulty for runners that will improve their performances overall. The white lines that mark the individual lanes need constant maintenance as they are subject to dispersal in every practice. Although imperfect, the dusty sand track contains many memories of breaking personal records, racing with friends and doing push-ups after dropping the relay baton.

Blackford Tennis Courts

“My favorite thing about playing on these courts is the crazy amount of wind that would just come out of nowhere on the worst days and make it an interesting practice or match. It kept us on our toes, so to speak.” - Shika Tseitlin (11)

He returns his opponents shot with ease, casually hitting the ball to his opponent’s backhand and anticipating his next move. They rally back and forth, neither giving an inch while the ball bounces endlessly across the net. The opponent grows tired from trying to return his skillfully placed shots and makes a costly mistake, popping the ball high into the air for an easy overhand smash. The player watches the ball carefully and swings, hitting the ball with so much force so that it bounces once in his opponent’s court and then lodges itself in the fence surrounding the court.

The Harker tennis courts, the site of Harker’s tennis practices and home games alike, can be found in the back left corner of the Blackford Campus. The complex’s six tennis courts, which are split up by chain link fences into 3 separate groupings of two courts side by side, are painted in a classic color scheme: green for the courts themselves, white for the base and service lines, as well as the single and double alleys, and red for the out-of-bounds areas. While the aging tennis courts are certainly beginning to show signs of wear and tear from years and years of use, most noticeably through crooked cracks which run across the evenly painted asphalt surface, that doesn’t take anything away from the countless memorable moments Harker tennis athletes have experienced playing under the bright LED lights of the middle school tennis court complex.

Baseball & Softball Fields

“I would say one of my favorite memories from the baseball field would have been when we were playing a league game against Jefferson high school my sophomore year and we beat them for the first time since we had been put in that league. Our team was very young and it was a huge accomplishment to beat the best team in our league which was filled with seniors as our team was full of a bunch of freshmen and sophomores. It was a very close game but we won with a walkoff hit which makes it even more memorable.” - Nicholas Coulter (12)

Silence blankets the field as the opposing pitcher winds up his arm, envisioning his target: the coveted strike zone. Just as focused, the Harker player at bat takes a few practice swings, establishing his rhythm. Back in his stance, he locks eyes with his opponent, engaging in a mental battle before the pitch. At last, the ball is release towards him, almost too fast for the spectators to see. Unliked the batter, they have not practiced for years on the same field, training to hit every pitch. With a mighty swing, the batter makes contact with the ball, sending it far into the outfield. Confident in his hit, the batter jogs the bases smugly, barely skimming over each one with his foot.

Two baseball fields lie at the corners of the large patch of grass that dominates the middle school campus. Reddish brown sand separates the baseball diamond from the rest of the field, with green dugouts to shelter resting players. A heap of sand erupts from the center of the diamond, marking the pitcher’s mound. The bases, although normally white, have become red and brown from use. Home plate, the goal for all base runners, sits proudly in front of the black fence that prevents balls from hitting spectators. The diamond remains close to the hearts of players who have pitched and hit balls relentlessly there, despite its need for constant maintenance due to the effects of wild goose poop.