Meet Hamlin Science Teacher Theresa Evenson ’88

What was your journey after you graduated from Hamlin?
After Hamlin, I attended UHS, and then headed to the east coast for college. I have spent most of my adult life in the Greater Boston area teaching middle school science in both public and independent schools.

What made you decide to come back and teach at Hamlin?
Coming back and teaching at Hamlin was an opportunity to come home (home to Hamlin and home to family and San Francisco where I grew up). I taught at an all-girls school in Boston and have really enjoyed working in this type of school environment. By returning to Hamlin, I have an opportunity to give back, to pass on my love of science to the girls, and to foster a love of learning, which is what I received as a Hamlin student.

What has changed the most at Hamlin since you were a student?
Hamlin was a lot smaller when I was a student, as my 8th grade graduating class had 19 students, so that is one big difference. I would also say the integration of technology in every class is very different. I remember the first computer lab at Hamlin on the second floor, and now Hamlin has a 1-to-1 iPad program where the students are using technology to demonstrate their learning and teachers are learning new platforms to teach in innovative ways.

What has changed the least at Hamlin since you were a student?
The traditions, the mission and the creed of the school – they were and still are the guiding principles of Hamlin.

What are you most excited about being back at Hamlin?
Teaching the girls science, making it relevant to their lives, and when we are back on campus being able to teach in the (updated) science labs that I was taught in by Danny Meyer and Fran Dorais. Also, service learning opportunities and outdoor education adventures – I can’t wait until we can travel with students again – hiking, backpacking, and experiencing the outdoors together. Those were some of my best memories from Hamlin.

Meet Hamlin Teacher Katie Vestal ’11

What was your journey after you graduated from Hamlin?
In my 10 years since graduating from Hamlin I have held dearly the friendships and values I developed in McKinne and Stanwood. I graduated from Lick-Wilmerding High School in 2015, earning my Girl Scout Gold Award along the way, and moved across the country for four years of blizzards, laughter and learning at Syracuse University. I studied Communication and Rhetoric (wrote my Senior Capstone on Internet Memes!) and studied abroad in London for a term. I spent my college summers working at a summer camp near Tahoe, eating all of my favorite SF foods and hiking the John Muir Trail with my dad. Upon graduating college, I decided to move to Bangkok and teach Kindergarten English for a term. This ended up being a great decision with the timing of world events, as I moved back to San Francisco in March of 2020 and began teaching at Hamlin this past fall.

What made you decide to come back and teach at Hamlin?
While the world spun into chaos in 2020, I thought what better time to begin teaching than now? I love working with students and the Associate Teacher program at Hamlin has given me all the support I needed to take on this new role. Hamlin has always held a place in my heart and I feel the urgency of the Hamlin mission even more as I grow older. I hold immense gratitude for the opportunity to become a part of the Hamlin teaching community this past year.

What has changed the most at Hamlin since you were a student?
I was a student at Hamlin from 2002-2011 and, upon reflection, the biggest change at Hamlin is just how different it is to be a kid right now. I love getting a first hand look at how Hamlin is preparing these bright-eyed students to meet the challenges of their time. Not only are Hamlin girls preparing to take on the biggest issues of the world, but the school is also preparing Hamlin girls to be great contributors to their own friendships, communities, and passions. Teaching girls to be innovators, to be kind, to be courageous and compassionate is vital to take on the challenges of their time, and Hamlin has stepped up to ensure these girls become well-rounded individuals.

What has changed the least at Hamlin since you were a student?
The spirit of Hamlin has held strong over the last decade. I would even say it has grown stronger as it has been tested through the years – especially in this past year with campus changes and the pandemic forcing us physically further apart. The Hamlin Creed remains strong – Compassion, Courage, Honesty, Respect, Responsibility – in the hearts and minds of students and teachers alike.

What are you most excited about being back at Hamlin?
It is hard to choose something I am the most excited about – from working alongside my own teachers from years ago to getting to know today’s 1st graders, I have loved every second! What tops it all is being able to channel the Hamlin Creed in all parts of my life and give back to a community that gave me so much. I am grateful to be a part of this special year at Hamlin and grow as an educator.

Who was the subject of your Influential Women in History (f/k/a Famous American Women) project?
Mine was Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of Girl Scouts!

Middle School Moves to Fort Mason

The Hamlin Middle School has temporarily moved its campus from Broadway to historic Fort Mason. Perched right above the Bay, the space is enormous, allowing our whole student body to be at school at the same time and still maintain social distancing protocols. The cavernous hall has primarily been used for art shows and artist studios and, with paintings from students in Ms. Feldman’s classes now adorning the walls, Hamlin Middle Schoolers are continuing that artistic legacy!

Although we miss our beloved Stanwood Hall, having all members of the Middle School together makes it more than worth the move. This transition, along with all the changes that have been required since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic have certainly illustrated how flexible and resilient Hamlin girls can be. We knew this year would be an adventure and we are excited to start the next chapter of this journey in such a beautiful new space. 

Mayor London Breed Gives Advice and Encouragement to Hamlin Girls

On Wednesday, December 16th, Hamlin welcomed San Francisco Mayor London Breed to our all-school assembly. Mayor Breed talked about being raised by her grandmother, who was a strong and fierce woman and taught her the value of taking care of your community. Mayor Breed also learned from her grandmother how important it is to be resilient, hopeful and to stand strong in your values. Talking about her experiences as a student and about the teachers that inspired her, Mayor Breed reminded all the Hamlin girls to listen to their parents and teachers and told us that it’s ok to make mistakes–it just matters how we learn and grow from those mistakes. Mayor Breed thoughtfully answered some questions from our community and told us about how she takes care of herself: long walks in the city, drinking plenty of water, getting exercise, and hanging out with her new plant friends. We are so honored to have been able to hear from such a strong, caring leader!

Virtual Jewish Cultural Night

PLAID held a celebratory Jewish Cultural Night on Tuesday, October 6th and, even though it was online, it was an evening filled with singing, dancing, and eating! The MC’s for the evening, Grade 8 students Ella Kowal, Bennett Wintroub and Laney Segal, taught the 80+ participants about all kinds of Jewish New Year traditions. We played trivia about famous Jewish women, watched videos of Hamlin girls dancing, blowing the shofar, making a delicious looking honey cake and so much more! Rabbi Jessica Zimmerman Graf, Hamlin alum and K parent, invited us into her sukkah and explained the story behind this temporary structure that is built during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

In breakout rooms, participants reflected on the past year and shared with each other goals for this new year. We enjoyed eating apples and honey and all wished each other a “Happy and Sweet New Year!” Clearly, even online, the Hamlin community knows how to have fun!

Hamlin Welcomes Alum As Teaching Fellow

Get to know Hamlin’s Middle School Teaching Fellow, Mx. Westley!

Tell us a bit about yourself:
My name is Mx. Westley (Syd Westley), and I graduated from Hamlin in 2013. For high school, I attended The Branson School in Ross, where I was captain of the soccer team and student body co-president. After graduating from Branson in 2017, I went to Stanford University. I just completed my third year at Stanford where I am majoring in Comparative Literature and minoring in Comparative Studies of Race and Ethnicity. I am currently taking the year off of school in order to teach at Hamlin, and next year I will return to Stanford to graduate! After that, I plan on pursuing an MFA in creative writing in order to become a poetry professor at the college level.
What made you decide to return to Hamlin, this time in a teaching role?
Because of COVID-19, I was not very excited about beginning my senior year of college in distance learning, so I decided to look for teaching opportunities for the year and was lucky enough to stumble upon this alumni fellowship! Because I want to pursue teaching after college, I thought it would be a great opportunity to get some more experience and professional development skills in the field, and I also just thought it would be very fun to return to my alma mater (which it has been). I am teaching alongside many of my old teachers and, although it has been a bizarre adjustment to start calling them by their first names, it has been really fun and interesting and fulfilling.
Tell us a little about your role as Middle School Teaching Fellow:
In my new role, I mostly support fifth grade students in math, language arts, and Spanish. I am also one of the faculty co-sponsors for the Middle School GSA (Gender and Sexuality Alliance) which has been my favorite part of the job. As a queer and non-binary person who had none of these resources when I was in middle school, I am so excited to share my experience/resources with students and to begin normalizing they/them pronouns as well as the gender neutral title, Mx. (pronounced Mix). Distance learning has proven challenging for everyone (I now have experienced it both as a student and as a teacher), so I’m very happy to provide the extra support. The students are so lovely, and I’ve never held a job I loved this much before.

 

“I Am Changing” – A New Year Begins at Hamlin

Hamlin’s Opening Assembly looked a little different this year. Even though over 600 students, teachers, and parents logged in to a virtual version, you could still feel the excitement of the start of a new year and a deep love of Hamlin coming through the screen. Student body president, Audrey Spaly, introduced this year’s theme: “I Am Changing.” Ms. Holland-Greene beautifully sang the lines from a song in Broadway’s Dreamgirls that inspires our theme:

“Look at me, I am changing. I am trying every way I can. I am changing–I’ll be better than I am.”

At a moment in history that requires all of us to be willing to change, to adapt, and truly to meet the challenges of our timesthe girls of Hamlin are ready to begin.

Rise To The Challenge With Grade 7

Rise To the Challenge (RTC) is the intensive for our Grade 7 students Intensives are a concentrated period of study where an entire grade is working on a project or projects, with profound research and preparation, followed by a public event. These intensives are designed with Hamlin’s mission in mind, as our students meet the challenges of their time.

RTC really started in autumn when students began going on various field trips where they volunteered and learned about how nonprofits serve a community. In addition to those engaging experiences, throughout the year students listened to many guest speakers who shared their altruistic wisdom and inspiration.

This preliminary work culminated with Grade 7 students choosing their own RTC topics, doing in-depth research, then sharing their findings, providing short and long-term solutions to various problems.

The topics were: Opiate Addiction, Oceans, Plastics and Overfishing, Teenage Suicide, Artificial Intelligence, Reducing Carbon Footprint, Gene Therapy, Improving Foster Care, Human Trafficking, Reproductive Health for Women, Fake News, Mass Extinction of Insects

This year all of the RTC teams worked online in May using technology to generate awareness through interactive Zoom presentations which included: videos, websites, gofundme campaigns, and a feminine hygiene product drive. Peers, teachers, and family members were able to participate in the 20-minute presentations on June 1.

Special thanks to the following speakers (among others) who met with students via Zoom during our intensive weeks: Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (District 58), Amy Errett (Madison Reed), Dutta Satadip (Pinterest), Lisa Craig (Matter of Trust), Marty Bennett (Pioneer Technical Services) Attorney Gywn Thiessen (Former Hamlin Parent), and Attorney Amy Stoll (Current Hamlin Parent).

Connections: Artwork from Grade 5

Grade 5 art students couldn’t be physically together these past weeks, but they still remained connected through the creative process and sharing work online.

Ms. Feldman met with her students via Zoom to set up the template for the above drawing. The template involved measuring 3.25 inches from the top of each side of the drawing where ribbon would start and end. Components of the piece included: their hand, their name, and 6 sections filled with a pattern. Students then worked independently at home and shared their completed artwork with each other online.

Influential Women in History Project (2020)

In previous years our Grade 4 students have taken the stage at the Century Club to pay tribute to historic and influential women. This year our celebration moves online, but the project continues with great success.

Grade 4 shares the following:

It is with great honor and respect that we pay tribute to our dear former teacher, Ms. Micha, for bringing this project to life year after year. We feel honored to be the 32nd annual class to present our Influential Women in History Project. We pay tribute, not only to the women who came before us in history, but also to the 1,472 Hamlin sisters in the last 32 years. These challenging times put us on a mission: to show that we can overcome obstacles just like the women we researched. 

This year’s online format features a video of each student speaking in character as their influential woman. Other components include: art artifacts, quotes, lyrics, and fictionalized Instagram accounts with fun visuals and inspiring posts.

This year girls are representing the following women:

Margaret Brend, Inez Milholland, Alice Paul, Julia Child, Melinda Gates, Sheryl Sandberg, Oprah Winfrey, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Bethany Hamilton, Florence Joyner, Serena Williams, Misty Copeland, Billie Jean King, Simone Biles, Raven Wilkinson, Cheryl Miller, Mia Hamm, Clara Barton, Amelia Earhart, Rachel Carson, Elizabeth Blackwell, Sally Ride, Helen Taussig, Katherine Johnson, Brit Jepson d’Arbeloff, Grace Hopper, Margaret Hamilton, Julia Morgan, Nellie Bly, Georgia O’Keeffe, Audrey Hepburn, Maya Lin, Jacqueline Kennedy, Janet Mock, Nancy Pelosi, Ruby Bridges, Michelle Obama, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Deborah Sampson, Abigail Adams, Harriet Tubman, Maya Angelou, Helen Keller, Josephine Baker

-The colorful artwork (above) is entitled “Women Pioneers” by Kaitlyn S.