Our girls are unlimited.
Our girls are unlimited.
Our girls are unlimited.
Our girls are unlimited.
Our girls are unlimited.

Preparing Students to be Engaged Citizens

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Authored by Head of School Dr. Fran Bisselle

I am a student of history.

It may sound trite to say that these are unprecedented times.

In all actuality, every single moment in history is new and owes its significance to context, which almost never is conferred until years or decades later.

We are living in a moment, though, that will unquestionably be part of the United States history curriculum for generations to come.

My colleagues and I are educators, and we have a responsibility to help our students contend with the world beyond our doors.

But none of us trained for this.

We’re in the midst of a global pandemic and political polarization that seems to be at an all-time high.

And yet, every day we welcome students from all walks of life across Northeast Ohio onto our campus to convene with one another and contend with this moment in time together.

We are a community.

Preparing Students to be Engaged Citizens

I know that there is a lot of concern about the role of education in our country right now.

I can tell you that Hathaway Brown is as committed as ever to our mission to educate and empower girls so that they may rise boldly to the challenges of our times.

So what does that mean in practice?

Our role as a school is not to try to persuade our students to embrace any particular ideology, but rather to give them the tools and information so that they can think critically in order to form their own opinions and value systems so that they can be involved as members of our shared society.

Of course, most of our students are not yet registered to vote. Even so, we must prepare them to be engaged citizens and honor that even with different points of view and political affiliations, together we can—and must—peacefully and civilly coexist with one another.

In fact, that is the beauty of the American experience. 

HB faculty in all divisions not only understand this philosophy, but they were also the ones who helped to shape it.

The first presidential debate of the 2020 election season will be held in Cleveland tonight. No doubt it will generate a lot of enthusiasm and interest.

At HB, we will thoughtfully lean into conversations that arise from the debate. Our students have an incredible opportunity to see themselves on the front lines of democracy, which is exactly where our society needs them to be.

HB is a non-partisan institution and we would not endorse any candidate or platform. We want our students to learn from all points of view and perspectives as they obtain the knowledge to become influential members of our society.

Women in Public Service

I’m proud to announce that on October 9, our Upper School students will be part of a Listening and Learning for Life panel discussion with three young HB alumnae:

  • Elissa Lowenthal ’12—U.S. Department of Defense
  • Hazel Crampton-Hays ’12—Office of the New York City Comptroller and
  • Arielle Goldberg ’13, United States Supreme Court.

These young alumnae are perfect examples of the HB experience and we are exceedingly proud to have each of them as a representative of Hathaway Brown School.

Last week, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the first woman in history to lie in repose at the U.S. Capitol. Each March, during Women's History Month, HB fourth-graders complete research projects to celebrate trailblazing women around the world who have inspired girls to follow in their footsteps. RBG is always a popular choice for students to learn about and portray during the annual ceremony. As a girls' school, we believe wholeheartedly with RBG's assertion that "Women belong in all places where decisions are being made." 

We hope that the example set by RBG and our own HB alumnae who have pursued careers in public service will encourage our students to contribute to the common good in their own ways.

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