Dear Hamlin Community,
I am now back in my office after an inspiring and engaging all-school assembly. Several weeks ago, I reached out to Hamlin teachers and planned a gathering for our community because I knew that we would need and want to be together this morning to process the outcome of the Presidential election and senate races. I am writing to let you know that your daughters, our amazing students, are just where they need to be — in the company of compassionate and respectful adults who love them, who listen to them, and who see their incredible potential. We have a great responsibility, today and always, to help them process their thoughts and feelings, to create pathways for civil discourse and critical thinking, and to prepare them to meet the challenges of their time.
During our assembly, we used words, music, and dance to affirm our values as a school and as a country. I acknowledged the fact that some girls and their families may feel excited and satisfied with the outcome of the presidential election, and other girls and families are feeling sad, confused, and scared. I reminded the girls that disagreement is perfectly normal, even if difficult. I asked the girls and the faculty and staff, “What does the Pledge of Allegiance mean on a day when many feel betrayed by their country?” “How can one sing ‘America the Beautiful’ on a day when many people feel that the ugliness of disrespect has been rewarded?” I alone recited the Pledge of Allegiance and asked the girls to think about “liberty and justice for all.” Some of us sang “America the Beautiful,” while others opted to think rather than sing. That, too, is perfectly normal.
Girls in Grades 5 through 8 stood proudly and made the air fragrant with hope and determination by speaking the names of their “famous” (influential) women in history from the Grade 4 social studies curriculum. Sarah Dix Hamlin made a guest appearance to share her life story and her feelings about the outcome of the election; she affirmed Hamlin girls’ courage and reminded them of their responsibility to make the world a more just and equitable place. (Sarah Dix Hamlin was portrayed by our very own Ms. Quackenbush, who was dressed in period costume.) We ended our assembly with vibrant Grade 8 dancers, led by our incredible dance teacher Ms. Williams, and we all danced to Beyonce’s “Run the World.” Our mission is more relevant than ever:
“The Hamlin School educates girls to meet the challenges of their time, and inspires them to become extraordinary thinkers and innovators, courageous leaders, and women of integrity.”
I dismissed the girls from assembly, grade by grade, and asked them to walk through a queue of loving faculty and staff. Girls high-fived and hugged their teachers and leaders, receiving our love and comfort as they returned to class. In turn, we received their love and comfort. They are our inspiration.
Here is a group poem, written by third graders this morning, as well as a Huffington Post articlethat I believe provides a framework for conversation with our children.
As always, we are grateful for your partnership. Please do not hesitate to be in touch with your daughter’s teacher or advisor if you need further guidance or support.
Rise and Shine,
Wanda M. Holland Greene
Head of School