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Northwest was full of energy as families traveled from near and far to reunite with students, getting a glimpse of their life on campus and making memories, last weekend.

Parents were able to spend time with their sons and daughters on campus by participating in various activities hosted by Students Activities Council and the Office of Student Involvement during Family Weekend Sept. 27-28. 

SAC Director of Northwest Traditions Brady Netzel was excited to organize and implement some of the events and activities for Family Weekend.

“It’s a great way for families to get involved with their kids (and) to visit the campus,” Netzel said. “It’s important just so families can get closer with their kids or just, you know, it’s a weekend for people to have fun.”

This weekend was the first time some students had physically been with their families since the semester started. One such student was freshman Aliyah Simmons. 

Her brother, Tristan Simmons, and mom, Anitra Basden, flew in from Miami. Aliyah Simmons was happy to be with her family because she didn’t know enough people to feel like she had a family at Northwest. 

“(We’re) just excited to be together,” Basden said. “(We’re) just trying to find our way around and get acclimated with what’s going on. We’re just trying to make the best of it before it’s over because it’s just a weekend.” 

Aliyah Simmons and her family made street signs after hearing about the opportunity on their way to the Bearcat Breakfast by Chris Cakes. The signs had the Northwest Paw on a dark teal background followed by an individualized word or phrase with a maximum of 12 characters. 

While some people put their names on it, Aliyah Simmons and her family used it to create inspirational reminders for them. Their signs said “Have Faith,” “Stay Focused” and “Stay Strong.”

“I wanted to have memorabilia of the school,” Basden said. 

Some families started Family Weekend with laughter when comedian Kevin Bozeman performed Sept. 27, making jokes surrounding his family and about being a parent. Freshman Shay Midkiff and his mom Kelly Elliott enjoyed the show, seeing someone who has appeared on Comedy Central, NBC, CBS and Fox.

“It’s so cool that they got someone who’s a very big comedian to come out to Maryville,” Midkiff said. “We thought it’d be super fun. We both love to laugh a lot. … Going to a comedian’s definitely a cool thing to do.”

After traveling for about two hours from Lee’s Summit, Missouri, Elliott had to stay in a hotel in St. Joseph, Missouri, because she waited too long to book a hotel in Maryville. She said she didn’t mind driving the extra 45 minutes to spend time with her son the next morning. 

To end Family Weekend, Arts Fishing Club, a band from Nashville, Tennessee, performed a live concert at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 28. Originally planned to be at the College Park Pavilion, it got moved inside to the Ron Houston Center for the Performing Arts due to rain.

“I really liked the idea of having a live band that people could kind of come and go to,” Netzel said. “(I liked) Arts Fishing Club. They’ve got a very good vibe. I think they’re very wholesome, and they got a really nice, indie, folk genre, which I think is pretty broad for families, so they could relate too.”

There were about 20 people in the concert audience. The band was still happy to put on a show and thanked everyone for coming. 

“We’re so happy to be here,” lead singer Christopher Kessenich said near the end of the concert. “We just appreciate y’all for coming out, and we had a great time hanging out with y’all.”

Freshman Evija Lipins and her parents Amy and Erik Lipins had a fun time at the concert. Amy Lipins hadn’t seen her daughter since she and her husband dropped her off for Advantage Weekend Aug. 17 while Erik Lipins last visited her during Labor Day Weekend. The rain changed some of their plans, but they still had a good experience spending time together as a family. 

“(The band had) great energy and sound,” Amy Lipins said. “I envisioned them on the grass, on the campus and how fun it would be, so that was just a bummer. It was still a fabulous show.”

Despite the distance between Maryville and Lincoln, Nebraska, Evija Lipins texts her parents every day. 

“I love my parents, and they do a lot for me,” Evija Lipins said.

The number of participants at Family Weekend events dwindled as the day progressed, but parents made memories while visiting their children and seeing how they act at their home away from home.

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