By Sean Scott (Reporter ‘25)
Friends’ Central runs “open houses” and tours as part of the admissions process each year. Ms. Sylvia Devietti, the associate director of admissions for middle and upper school, and Mr. Mike Cook, the assistant director of admissions and athletics liaison, are both involved with open houses and tours. “Open houses have different purposes depending on the time of year,” informs Mr. Cook. “One kind is intended to draw people to our school, and the other kind is to get people to sign the contract and enroll at Friends’ Central after they have been accepted.” Open houses also involve tours for families who are looking into Friends’ Central. When comparing tours with open houses, Mr. Cook explained, “Open houses are more general, while tours give a more personalized experience. With tours, there are interviews with parents, guardians, and students, and students get to visit classes.”
Ms. Devietti and Mr. Cook both guide families around campus on tours, providing information and answering questions for families. Ms. Devietti spoke about her experience giving tours: “Giving tours is fun in that I really enjoy getting to meet new people and getting to see their reactions to our campus. Seeing somebody else light up about our program always inspires me and reminds me how lucky I am to be here as a part of this community.” Mr. Cook also enjoys giving tours, and he feels great about the open houses so far this year. He told us how open houses have drawn hundreds of people to campus this year. Friends’ Central has had five open houses this fall, and at least 50 families registered for each one. “[Open houses] are hard work,” he said, “but we get to enroll great families. That makes the work worth it.”
Open houses and tours are also the source of positive feedback from families. Ms. Devietti says: “I am very happy to hear how many families tell me they appreciated the experiences.” She expressed the validation that comes when “families talk about how they got a feel for what it is like to be [at Friends’ Central] and share how happy they are.” She said she is “grateful for how much help the community gives in making open houses successful. Our faculty and student tour guides are incredible.”
Having such successful open houses and tours takes preparation in many different aspects. Friends’ Central has to make sure student tour guides are available and that they have what they need to give effective tours. The physical plant and maintenance staff beautify the campus and make sure each space is arranged just right. Specific stops along the tours are also planned, such as hearing from Interim Head of School Beth Johnson, meeting the principals, and deciding which classes will be included in the tours.
Open Houses have a lasting impact on what visitors think of Friends’ Central.“I want people to leave with more knowledge about what our program has to offer,” Ms. Devietti explained. “I want people to walk away feeling excited about the prospect of being [at Friends’ Central].” Mr. Cook wants people to remember the beautiful campus and the opportunities for students to receive a great education. He also wants people to know how Friends’ Central provides “a life outside of school while in school” with things such as having lunch outside or hanging out with friends on the playground.
To sum it all up, Ms. Devietti put it this way: “In the end, open houses are definitely events that everybody helps out with. Thank you to everyone in our community for helping our guests see how great it is to be part of the FCS community.”