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!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.