Developing Changemakers

In my first article of the year, I shared four hopes and dreams I have for Ellis students, one of which is for them to develop into the kind of women who are completely undeterred by challenging situations, who enjoy finding creative solutions to tricky problems, and who will leave us ready and committed to effect positive change in the world. 
Why do I want this for our girls? Really for two reasons. First, given the fast-changing nature of the world around us, I believe they will need these qualities and skills in order to be successful, regardless of their future paths. Second, and perhaps even more compelling for me, I believe they will lead much more fulfilling and engaging lives if they are the kinds of women who enjoy tussling with challenges and seek to solve problems rather than simply waiting for others to step up.

We have always excelled, as a School, at growing just these sorts of women. This was very much in evidence during Reunion Weekend in mid-October, when more than 100 alumnae returned to campus to reconnect with each other and the School. Six alums participated in a career panel during which they shared their stories with our Middle and Upper School students. Each of these alumnae has had a significant impact on the spheres in which they operate. I know you’ll enjoy reading their stories below.  One graduate was awarded the Sara Frazer Ellis Award, which goes each year to an outstanding alumna for her professional accomplishments and support of Ellis. This year’s awardee was Peggy MATHIESON Conver ’73 who, in her acceptance speech, challenged all of us to be women who “go out there and solve problems”.

While we certainly have specific experiences for our students that focus on tackling messy real-world problems and making positive change in our community, we have––even more importantly––woven practices and expectations into the fabric of Ellis that nudge and support all our students to develop the skills and qualities they need to be real changemakers.