Looking At Girls Schools? Here’s Why You Should Consider One
Editors note: Vivian Elba, Director of Marketing & Communications at The Ethel Walker School, sent us this contribution. She’s got the voice and fervor of convert who discovered the power of girls education later in life. Vivian observes the lasting influence of milestones, relationships, and lessons that seem to be instilled with greater frequency and stronger imprint when learned in a girls school.
Her submission will run in two installments.
“Do you need help finding something?” The bright young voice outside my office belonged to a sophomore from Simsbury, Connecticut, who I interviewed last year about her community service work for a feature in the school magazine. “Where is Mr. Groff’s room?” asked the “new girl” from New York City, also a sophomore, looking for her English classroom. The “old girl” didn’t just point up the stairs; she escorted her new classmate to the skylit classroom.
In a decade, or two, or five, it is likely these two girls will still be in each other’s lives. Indeed, they may be the best of friends, though many miles may separate them. They may have traveled together, become godmothers to one another’s children, or have founded a business together. This sophomore year, they will be in the same economics class, be lacrosse teammates, and wield hammers side-by-side as they perform community service together by rehabbing old homes. They will bake cookies in a dorm kitchen, and the “old girl” will help the “new girl” design her outlandish ensemble for school spirit events. They will learn together, play together, laugh together and cry together. And without knowing it, they will form a bond that will last a lifetime.
These scenes would never have played out at my high school in Queens, New York. Admittedly, “back then,” nobody was encouraged to be friendly, or to help those who looked confused, and there were no pink-shirted student guides whose official duties included helping others navigate the massive school’s labyrinth hallways.
Oh, I had fun at Hillcrest High – we bonded on the subway rides that “bused” us out of our neighborhood so that “integration” (derisively viewed at that time; today, viewed positively – and correctly – as “diversity”) could be achieved. I loved drama club, where I stomped the floorboards alongside two of today’s biggest television stars. I was an overachiever, though today I don’t remember any of my teachers’ names, and I rose to the creme at the top of the cappuccino class, earning a scholarship to my first choice college.
But, no one I saw in those hallways on a daily basis plays a part in my life today, despite a surge of Facebook reconnections a year or so ago. None of my friends from that time evolved into true friends of today. Aside from drama club, there was little after school immersion or weekend, school sponsored activity to cement relationships. Of course, there were parties….which brings me to: