Alumnae News & Highlights

For Holly Boyer Scott ‘73, HB has always been a place of “safety, familiarity, and acceptance.” An HB lifer, Holly graduated cum laude from Williams College in 1977 with a BA in History. She went on to earn a Masters in Education from John Carroll, specializing in Guidance and Counseling. Holly’s journey as an educator has led her to serve in various roles, from a classroom teacher and field hockey coach to the directorship of the Cleveland Council of Independent Schools. Holly met her husband Peter, also an educator, while working at Hawken in 1982. In the volunteer arena, Holly is proud of her decades-long commitment to working with organizations and healthcare professionals toward ensuring reproductive rights and health autonomy for all women. 

An Early HB Memory 

“When I entered HB as a quiet little five-year-old in 1960, I spent day one of kindergarten block building, munching graham crackers, curious about the four boys in our class…and at lunchtime, I went up to our wonderful Miss VanHouten and said, “Thank you…this was nice, but I’d like to go home now.” Without missing a beat, she helped me to the cloakroom, gathered my things, called my mom, sat with me on the seemingly huge bench outside of our room, and waited with me. The next day, I was back, and all was well, but the point is, she heard me, knew what I needed, and responded in the very best way possible – with kindness.” 

A Love of History 

“History is really a story. When I did my teaching internship at Smith, I taught a class - created a course - on history through biography. It was about teaching history through people. George Washington Carver, other famous people in history, and also some not-so-famous, guiding us through that period of time. I love biographies and memoirs. I like people’s stories and what they can teach us. History isn’t just the event, it’s the reasons for what happened – it’s all the things that surrounded the event.” 

The Gift of Language 

“A love of language – written, spoken, and acted – has carried me through my life, instilling in me a love of literature and art and craft. There’s nothing more fun than encouraging people to read a book you love. The best books teach us that a character you may hate at the beginning of a story is more than just one thing. None of us are all one thing.” 

The Freedom to Explore 

“HB allowed me and my peers to be who we were in the times that we were there. I think we were all experimenting and figuring out who we were. High school is a tricky period, and I think regardless of the year and the time, there’s a lot of uncertainty, experimentation, and curiosity, and that can flower into something really interesting. I think HB gave us that space.” 

The Importance of Listening 

“Slow down and try to be an active listener…We’re in a time where we’re so reactive that often, as a nation, as a world, we jump to conclusions without hearing – really hearing – what the other side is saying. You can be an active listener and then do things with that listening. I would like to think that HB continues to help young women leave the school who are compassionate and empathetic and understanding. You can be compassionate and kind and still be strong. I don’t think they’re mutually exclusive.” 

Advice for the Next HB Generation 

“Don’t be a bystander – take action, take a stand, and never ever stop learning. Try to be gentle in your judgments. Often first glances do not give the clearest picture, and heaven knows, we all deserve a do-over every now and again. Take what HB has to offer– safety to try new things, to be you in all your iterations, and then go with it – be bold yet gentle, and stand up and help others along the way.”

  • Distinguished Alumnae Award