January is a recent memory, February is now here, and the primary question on my mind during this month of admissions and high school placement is, “What Does it Mean to Be A Hamlin Girl?” The Admissions Committee has numerous admissions applications to read carefully, each profile telling the story of a young girl who is beloved by her parents and teachers. With so many wonderful girls to choose from, who emerges as a Hamlin girl? How do we know her when we see her?
There is an intellectual vitality in Hamlin girls, even at a young age. They are curious and quirky, funny and spunky, kind and inclusive. These qualities can be found in girls who range in demeanor from shy and observant to audacious and assertive, and I love the wide range of personalities! We select girls who see the world as a giant classroom and who want to try new things; we also look for a diverse group of girls who are proud of their own unique stories yet intrigued by the lives of others. Of course, there are always more “lion cubs” out there than we can invite into our lair, but it is a blessing to be able to welcome many new girls and their families to Hamlin each fall.
At the other end of the grade level spectrum, I am in the close company of the Grade 8 students during the months of January and February. The Class of 2015 is an amazing group of energetic and confident leaders, and they have supported each other and led the school very capably thus far. To celebrate the fact that their high school applications are complete, each Grade 8 advisory group is invited to my office for an ice cream party. An intriguing conversation always ensues when I ask the Grade 8 girls, “What Does it Mean to Be A Hamlin Girl?” I tell them that I will use their words during admissions events with prospective parents, and they are always proud to share their thoughts. This year, I added a twist to the dialogue and asked the Grade 8 advisors to tell me what being a Hamlin teacher means to them. I now share these heartfelt sentiments with you:
What Does It Mean To Be A Hamlin Girl?
(An Excerpt of the Unedited Words of The Class of 2015)
- Being a Hamlin girl means challenging what is expected of girls and finding new ways to surprise others. Yes, we go for the powerful positions—we are polite, kind, and loving, so some might not expect ambition to come in that same package
- Being a Hamlin girl means that we all have the courage and ambition to do something great in life
- Being a Hamlin girl means being open-minded and going forward even if you are scared and don’t know how things will turn out
- Being a Hamlin girl means having a lot of power, and with great power comes great responsibility. Our power and confidence come from the tools we have learned in the classroom
- Being a Hamlin girl means defying the stereotypes of all-girls schools; I am proud to be a student here, and I am not ashamed, I am not boy-crazy, and I am not catty
- Being a Hamlin girl does mean accepting challenges head on, but being a Hamlin girl also means being able to step back from a challenge, really look at it, and understand what approach will work best for you
- Being a Hamlin girl means perseverance—when work is overwhelming, a Hamlin girl categorizes and prioritizes. Hamlin girls don’t freak out, and they don’t retreat.
- Being a Hamlin girl means that you always speak your opinions
- Being a Hamlin girl means that you don’t take everything too seriously, but you take the things that NEED to be taken seriously, seriously
- Being a Hamlin girl means balancing being super smart and super determined
- Being a Hamlin girl means being excited to go to school and not dreading Monday
- Being a Hamlin girl means that you will be pushed to try your hardest in everything you do
- Being a Hamlin girl means experiencing comfort and a “homey” feeling that is hard to describe. Hamlin is a web that weaves children in, and I am part of a network that feels strong, large, and connected.
- Being a Hamlin girl means being willing to question authority and ask hard questions, not in a rude way, but digging down to a deeper place
- Being a Hamlin girl means continuing to follow the Creed even when you are not in school
- Being a Hamlin girl means thinking of learning as an adventure, not as an obligation
- Being a Hamlin girl means continuously learning and obtaining the tools you need to change the world. The tools are not just laid in front of you, you have to work for them
- Being a Hamlin girl means being willing to change your mind and to be influenced by others—but for the right reasons
- Being a Hamlin girl means not being afraid of change and not being afraid to make change or break tradition
- Being a Hamlin girl means being a girl of integrity. Hamlin girls stand up for what is right. We are ready to face the challenges of our time.
- Being a Hamlin girl means trying your best in everything and putting a lot of effort into every endeavor
- Being a Hamlin girl means being socially confident; we are good at making friendships
- Being a Hamlin girl means striving to do one’s best; we are both competitive and supportive of each other. We want to achieve, and we want to help our peers achieve.
- Being a Hamlin girl means living by the Creed to help other people; Hamlin girls believe in the power of compassion
- Being a Hamlin girl means gaining independence; because I think that is the whole theme of a Hamlin education. You grow up here over the years, and you see yourself grow and become more independent. By the end, you know who you are as a learner, and you know how to advocate for your needs.
- Being a Hamlin girl means being curious, looking for your own answers, finding all the sides to a story, and then forming your own opinion about it.
- Being a Hamlin girl means that you don’t shy away from hard work; you love accepting challenges
- Being a Hamlin girl means being vulnerable and taking chances and leaps of faith
- Being a Hamlin girl means knowing how to win with grace and also how to fail epically
- Being Hamlin girl means being competitive to reach a own goal, but a Hamlin girl doesn’t need to push others down to do it.
- Being Hamlin girl means never doing anything half-heartedly, setting your mind to something, being driven, and putting your whole self into whatever endeavor
- Being a Hamlin girl means being a creative thinker. I can look at a single picture in so many different ways.
- Being Hamlin girl means being knowing how to find the beauty in life and have fun
- Being a Hamlin girl means not being afraid to be yourself and also connecting with others who are different
- Being a Hamlin girl means carrying your own weight and helping others along the journey
- Being a Hamlin girl means confident but not conceited
- Being a Hamlin girl means knowing how to stand tall even if you have to stand alone
- Being a Hamlin girl means taking an inside class conversation outside
- Being a Hamlin girl means knowing the difference between something that is risky and something that is courageous
What Does it Mean to Be A Hamlin Teacher?
- Being a Hamlin teacher means continuing to be a student because we do a lot of things in real time—we are organized but flexible to meet the challenges of the time. We seek the counsel of our class to see what will work better
- Being a Hamlin teacher means to lead by example and to embody the values one expects to see in your students; being a Hamlin teacher means to work collaboratively and to be an active part of a team in everything one does.
- Being a Hamlin teacher is about discovery—discovering who each student is, and who they want to be, learning where they want to go and taking on the role as guide to get them there
- Being a Hamlin teacher means continuing to learn as much as my students; it means part of an incredibly smart, committed, and talented group of colleagues. Being a Hamlin teacher means valuing community as much as intellect.
- Being a Hamlin teacher means digging in and pushing, growing, and innovating to deliver the most extraordinary curriculum possible