At Rowland Hall, students who attend for 12 or more years are referred to as lifers. The class of 2017 has 30 of these students, and we asked them to share special school memories and reflect on how Rowland Hall has shaped each of them.
Favorite memories of our graduating lifers include: tea time with Carol Blackwell; the Interim trip to Navajo Nation; hours spent in the dance studio collaborating with peers and Dance Teacher Sofia Gorder; and receiving a standing ovation at morning meeting after playing "Take on Me" with fellow Jazz Band members in their class.
Many of our seniors noted the exceptional relationships they developed with faculty members who encouraged them, whether in Dr. Fiona Halloran's Advanced Topics US History class or studying French with Doug Wortham. Lifer Daphne Michie said, "Every English and history class I have taken at Rowland Hall has improved my analytical abilities. These classes and the incredible teachers have helped me discover my interests and ambitions for life outside school."
Senior Kate Button—daughter of fifth-grade Teacher Sarah Button—had similar comments, highlighting the friendships and relationships with teachers that have shaped her fundamentally. She also said her public-speaking skills have improved: "I remember when I was younger, I was very shy and I was terrified of speaking in class or reaching out to other people. But with time at Rowland Hall, I grew to be more comfortable in the classroom, especially in student-led discussions. In the fall of this year, I was asked to speak at morning meeting twice for my Political Science class, and I knew I could manage it because of the skills Rowland Hall has taught me."
Catherine Rogers, who spent 14 years as a Winged Lion, reflected in depth on the skills and perspective she gained from her Rowland Hall education. Notably, starting in fourth grade she was granted permission to leave school early to pursue intensive training in gymnastics. She recalled how Head of School Alan Sparrow supported this endeavor, telling Catherine's mother that he didn't want her to have to choose between academics and gymnastics, and that she could be excellent at both, at the same time. That philosophy stuck with Catherine, who said Rowland Hall has taught her to "imagine the possibilities." She added, "I'm very thankful that I am surrounded by people who encourage me to chase my dreams, who remind me why I chose what I did when things become tough, and who celebrate all my successes."
As the class of 2017 lifers look back on the 12 or more years they've spent here, they can also look forward to college, and beyond. Catherine believes Rowland Hall has taught her "to be a world citizen, to help shape the kind of world I would like to be a part of." When we look back on where these lifers started, it's remarkable to see how far they've come, and exciting to imagine all they will accomplish.