For the eleventh year in a row, headmaster Adam K. Man and his wife Beth invite seniors over to their house for dinner in the first weeks of school as a warm way to start the year off. The gatherings are intimate as they are split by gender as well as by two-three-or-four year seniors. The Mans started the tradition as a way to get to know seniors and to listen to them reflect on their time at Forman. And to get teenagers to talk, it helps to feed them as Mr. Man notes. "Every year, the four-year seniors just naturally slide into a trip down memory lane," says Man. "They'll say, 'Remember that time in Lodge' and then the stories just flow."
Over time, Mr. Man has developed a formula to get the most out of the evening. There is a pre-dinner snack of soda and chips in the living room and the conversation starts there. And it continues over a dinner of steak, potatoes, and vegetables. "Over the course of the evening, I always try to work in two specific questions," says Man. "'If you could change one thing about Forman, what would it be?' and 'When you come back for your tenth reunion, what do you hope hasn't changed?'"
These discussions have given Mr. Man keen insights into Forman: every year the students note sincerely that the student-faculty relationships at Forman are better than anything they have experienced before. And it's fair to say that the senior dinners had a lot to do with the introduction of the Ingenuity Program because so many students described areas of study that the school could not offer. But does now.
The students learn from their reflections as well. "Mr. Man asked us what advice we would give ourselves as incoming freshmen," said four-year senior Rachel Mittleman '19. "I would tell myself to take it slowly and enjoy things more. It all goes by so quickly."