Lions and Daisies: A Tradition of Collaboration

Twenty senior Marksmen took their seats in Nearburg Hall, ready to play their roles as part of a mock national security council meeting in Michele Santosuosso’s history of special operations class. Only this time, 20 Hockaday students would be joining them.

“Football games and dances are fun, but this opportunity allowed students to engage in an academic setting,” Santosuosso said. “Most (if not all) will attend a co-education college/university. Engaging in civil discourse with young women is essential to growing up.”

Marksmen hosted the ‘Daisies,’ as they are known, at lunch in the Great Hall before attending Santosuosso’s class. Tables were oriented in a large square allowing students to face one another during class while taking on various advisory roles within the mock security council. The Daisies and Lions debated how best to respond, or not, to a pretend international situation, providing differing perspectives, forecasting outcomes and proposing solutions.

“I believe the presence of girls impacted the class less because of gender and more because coming from Hockaday,” said Trey Stager ’23. “The girls learn from a slightly different paradigm and being able to compare that with how we learn creates an environment where more ideas and broader viewpoints are shared.” 

This cherished collaboration between the two schools has existed since Hockaday’s founding in 1913, by supporting each-others academic, artistic, athletic and social efforts. For many years, Upper School co-ed classes were routine until Hockaday changed to a block schedule format years ago and class schedules no longer aligned. Today, collaboration involves a broad range of events and the occasional co-ed class, including performing arts productions, athletics, cheerleading, pep rallies, socials and community service projects.

“My favorite part of the visit to St. Mark’s was the welcoming environment,” said Hockaday senior Charlie Hamilton. “I was anxious leading up to the mock security council meeting as I knew little about covert or military operations in general—the subject of our discussion. Despite this, the boys and teachers at St. Mark’s ensured that we all felt comfortable sharing our opinions and always offered context and background on topics when needed. Consequently, I left that day with both newfound knowledge and confidence.”

History and Social Sciences Department Chair David Fisher is planning a co-ed seminar later this year with St. Mark’s and Hockaday’s AP economics classes. Robert S. Kaplan, former president of the Dallas Federal Reserve, member of the St. Mark’s Board of Trustees and St. Mark’s parent, will give a talk on the economic issues of the day.

“I cross paths with my economics teacher counterpart at Hockaday quite often at mock UN events,” Fisher said. “I’ve discussed with her the possibility of running a joint class or seminar on a common topic. It’s important that my students be exposed to different voices, perspectives and insights.”
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