The five years preceding Hawken’s Centennial Celebration marked a period of extraordinary growth in facilities and programming. The Sally & Bob Gries Center for Experiential Learning opened in August of 2010 and was followed one year later by the Grand Opening of the Early Childhood Center. In February of 2012, Hurwitz Hall was announced in response to a need for increased classroom space to meet increased enrollment demand and accommodate curriculum needs. The next building project was announced in December of 2013 after Hawken received its largest individual gift in the history of the School: an $8 million commitment in the form of a challenge grant from the Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation to support a project that would result in the renovation, expansion, and construction of a new Upper School academic building to be named Stirn hall in honor of Howard and Cara Stirn.
The curriculum developed to include deeper, more authentic learning across the entire school. The Upper School instigated the intensive classes for more thorough education in a particular subject. The Middle School started the week-long Insights program in 2010 which mimic this on a smaller scale. Finally, the Lower School introduced the trademarked learning continuum to mark the students’ progress and development over time. In 2014, The Sydell and Arnold Miller Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies was established at the Gries Center, a venture that was generously supported through a lead gift from the Miller Family and a $250,000 Educational Leadership grant from the Edward E. Ford Foundation. Character building remained and became reinforced with the new Integrity Code in 2010 which states, “As a member of the Hawken community, I am a person of integrity striving to be my better self. My words and actions reflect my belief in justice, compassion, and fair play. I respect the rights, work, ideas, and dignity of all.”
In addition to reaching record enrollment each year during this time period, Hawken students garnered impressive recognition in Merit Scholarships, Debate, STEMM, Academic Challenge, Power of the Pen, Mathcounts, and Knowledge Master. In athletics, many teams advanced to district, regional and state competitions. Student artists also continued to receive notable recognition, winning numerous Gold Key and Silver Key writing and art awards.
As Hawken approached the 2014-2015 year, plans for celebrating the School’s Centennial began with a Centennial Kick-Off Weekend in October and culminated with the Party of the Century at the Cleveland Convention Center in May of 2015. Although the party celebrated the accomplishments of Hawken’s first 100 years, Head of School D. Scott Looney outlined the challenges for the future through an article in the Summer 2014 Hawken Review which focuses on the innovations of education. Looney states “Our mission calls for us to help raise these children, our students, to be those people [who change the world.] …Hawken is one of the few schools that can do this work, Fair Play dictates that we must.”