The Aspire Program of Hathaway Brown School is a tuition-free academic enrichment and leadership development program. Over a multi-year commitment, Aspire girls develop a greater excitement for learning, keen self-awareness, a deeper understanding of community, and an increased ability to communicate effectively.

Aspire recruits fifth-grade girls from public and charter schools in Greater Cleveland who:
  • are limited in opportunity due to low family income 

  • upon high school will be a first-generation college student

  • crave academic enrichment and leadership development opportunities 

Students attend three consecutive summer sessions (prior to entering sixth, seventh, and eighth grades) and also gather for events throughout the school year. 

"Aspire has shown me how to be an effective leader as well as the importance of a strong role model!"

Sumayyah Husain
Aspire Class of 2014
HB Class of 2019
Aspire Junior Teacher

The Advantage

In addition to core academic components, Aspire girls are offered exposure to college-prep classes, health and wellness workshops, career exploration opportunities, and other experiences that:

  • supplement their learning
  • help close the achievement gap
  • and increase their ability to navigate diverse social, academic, and professional environments

After completing the Aspire program, girls: 

  • become proactive decision makers
  • are more likely to assume leadership roles at school
  • pursue challenging coursework
  • and have a greater likelihood of pursuing higher education

The commitment

In the summers of sixth through eighth grades, Aspire girls participate in a variety of activities, academic classes, and exploratory workshops. Through a three-year commitment, girls develop as learners, leaders, and decision makers. 

After the third year, girls graduate to Aspire alumnae. Beginning with the fourth-year summer session, the Ninth Grade Academy, alumnae prepare for rigorous high school coursework and the tools necessary to access, persist through, and graduate from college. 

Learners & Leaders

Aspire increases a girl’s awareness and investment in her learning, leadership, and decision-making. In the program, girls engage in the following: 

Academic Classes

In small classes taught by college students, girls learn strategies for effective learning in Reading, Writing, Math, Science, and Social Studies. 


Aspire girls attend daily workshops to explore interests such as performing or visual arts, journalism, public speaking, technology, and athletics. 

Leadership Seminar

At Aspire, lessons about leadership are accessible. In the Leadership Seminar, girls work collaboratively role playing simulations that require smart decision making and problem solving.

Activity & Choice Periods

Aspire offers daily activity and choice periods. Girls select from:

  • visual and performing arts
  • athletics 
  • music
  • diversity exercises
  • adventure learning
  • community-building activities
  • yoga
  • and more

Field Trips

Field trips increase a girl's exposure and  connections to the Greater Cleveland community. Field trips have included visits to the Botanical Gardens and The Plain Dealer press. In the third year, students travel on an overnight trip to Michigan.

Year-Round Events

Aspire year-round activities, held quarterly on Saturdays, offer enrichment workshops and special events during the school year. Examples include a tour of ethnic markets on Lolly the Trolley, ice skating, and shows at Playhouse Square.

Aspire is rooted in what is most exceptional about Hathaway Brown School. Identifying young women with extraordinary potential, providing deep learning experiences that expand their horizons, and engaging outstanding educators with the resources to succeed reflect the institution's focus on excellence in girls' education. 

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