Although technology was not new to Hockaday, it became an even bigger part of the school in the 1980's. The personal computer was beginning to be mass-marketed, but it was not a part of daily life for most people. An article in the 1979-80 Alumnae Magazine stated, “The mystery of the computer lies not so much in our inability to understand what computers can do...it lies in how we communicate with the computer. We haven't learned the language."The concept of learning computer language today is even somewhat of a foreign concept as many programs automatically "communicate" what we want our computers to do for us. During this time, students were taught computer programming in 6th grade and communicating with a time-share system off campus. The 6th grade girls remember a field trip to Electronic Data Systems where they tried their hands at punch card programming to produce a Snoopy calendar on a dot-matrix printer.
The school received the gift of four Apple II microcomputers which allowed every Lower School class to learn programming in Apple Basic. These four computers were shared among the 250 students in these classrooms.
"Many of the 8th graders are extending their programming skills rapidly," according to Mr. Comfort, the Computer Coordinator. His students, working with an assignment on averaging numbers, are asked to write a program exploiting the mechanical efficiency of a computer. There were many stories of students excelling at a faster pace than expected.
This push for technology included a grant from the Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Fund of The Dallas Foundation along with a matching donation from an anonymous alumna, to expand the audio-visual equipment and reference materials. These funds purchased two new video cameras, and an editing recorder, replacement 16mm projectors, two video cassette recorders, a complete collection of The New York Times on microfilm, seven new sets of encyclopedias, and many other reference materials that would be housed in the newly completed Marcus library.First Capital Endowment Campaign beginsThe economic boom of the early- to mid-1980’s supported a considerable amount of growth for the School endowments and campus. In much the same spirit as Miss Hockaday, the Board of Trustees and leadership of the school made plans for the future with the $15 million "Challenge for the Eighties" campaign. This goal allowed for growth in endowments, the building of the new science center (completed for fall 1983), improvements to the fine arts department, Lower School addition and renovation, dining hall expansion, residence renovation, and classroom renovation.Piano at Hockaday
Music and the arts have always been a large part of Hockaday history. In the early 1980's, 100 students, one-eighth of the student body, took piano lessons from three excellent teachers, Wyema Wilhite, Irene Kinney, and Mary Ann Stewart. These three teachers provided weekly 45-minute lessons covering music theory, musicianship, concentration, and discipline. The girls gave two recitals a year and tested their skills by taking the Junior Pianist Guild theory test. Several students from the Upper School received their high school diplomas in piano under the National Guild which prepared them to enter college as advanced music majors.Many remember the consummate "Hockadad" who also was a Hockaday board member and Co-Chairman of the Capital Campaign for the 1980's. He took particular interest in the grounds and how they were kept. He is credited for the planting of all the trees along Forest Lane. Also, graduation terrace, the tennis courts, and the Lower School were named in his honor. He was known for wearing his Hockaday plaid pants when on campus.
This was also the year of the first class to have 14-year graduates – students who attended Hockaday from Pre-Kindergarten through Form IV.The Dallas Arts District
During the mid-1980's, Dallas began to develop the plans for the Arts District we know today. The Dallas Museum of Art moved to its current location, and many galleries and music venues opened in the Deep Ellum area. Hockaday students enjoyed the arts with the Junior Patrons' Guild, and the visual and performing arts courses enjoyed increased popularity with students.
Horchow Fine Arts Center Completed
This significant addition to the north end of the campus featured a light-filled art studio and spaces for ceramics and photography. The visual arts had previously been housed in different areas of campus, with the photography lab located underneath the stairs in Tarry House.
Idanelle McMurry retires, and Richard Lombardi is named interim Headmaster.
As Miss Mac stepped down, the school named Richard Lombardi as interim Headmaster. Mr. Lombardi had deep roots in Hockaday. His mother Adele Volk was a student in the early years on Haskell Avenue and a member of the first full graduating class in 1916. In addition to his service as Interim Headmaster, Mr. Lombardi was a teacher, the father of a Hockaday alumna, and trustee.