Growing Up at a Girls’ School

I never could have imagined as a shy four-year-old in 2004, that I would turn into a confident, mature, and independent member of the Class of 2017. Being in an all-girls environment has been an experience of a lifetime. I truly wish I could take full credit for my transformation, but I believe being surrounded by girls who strive to be their best selves are the ones who I should be eternally grateful for. From the sisters that have been with me since our first day in Kindergarten to the ones I met in 9th grade, all of them are a part of the metamorphosis I have gone through.

Growing up in an all-girls environment has taught me two life lessons that, in my opinion, are the hardest to learn: be yourself and pursue all your passions.

Learning these mantras at an early age has helped shape me into who I am today, and who I would like to be in the future. I can’t recall a time when I was afraid to go after my aspirations, because I knew the girls sitting in classrooms with me were just as ambitious. I’ve learned through these lessons that it is the responsibility of the aspirer to go out and seek the necessary resources to pursue their passions.

This year in the Upper School our motto is Make It Happen. These past months I have seen students from freshmen to seniors take the initiative to turn dreams into reality. This energy is infectious, and has been vital to motivating our student body this year. I can honestly say that nothing makes me happier than seeing my fellow classmates and underclassmen putting their best selves forward, and modeling what it means to be a girl today: confident, persistent, and active.

Being surrounded by girls who are eager to make a difference and faculty who provide unconditional support is one of the best feelings in the world.

An all-girls environment is not just academic—it’s having the time of your life free of any judgments, because no matter where you look, everyone is enjoying themselves. Whether it’s having dance parties with your classmates, playing on the field with your fellow teammates, or even coming together for the wonderful traditions that have circulated through generations of women, I have always felt I was part of something bigger than myself because of the bonds I cultivated at school.

Going off to a coed college next year will definitely be an adjustment, but I know this experience has prepared me to put my best self forward and dive into new experiences. For any girl interested in an all-girls school, know that it will immerse you in great life experiences and support you during your self-discovery. Most importantly, you will go through it all with some of your best friends!

Jessiey K., Class of 2017, Kent Place School

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on the blog, “Innovation for Brave & Brilliant Girls,” a publication of Kent Place School, and is used with permission.

Imagine a World Where Girls See No Limits

Imagine a world where female athletes, scientists, business executives, and politicians are household names as widely known as their male counterparts. A world where Katherine Johnson is as widely known as John Glenn or where Babe Didrikson Zaharias is as revered as Babe Ruth.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let us engage the power of many voices to #BeBoldForChange to strengthen our schools, communities, and world so we no longer imagine girls sharing the spotlight, but see it shine on them equally.

When girls learn about accomplished women, they become more aware of the possibilities in their own lives. Learning about trailblazing women, seeing female heroes, and having female role models inspires girls to set their own brilliant paths. It’s also important for boys to see accomplished women represented so they are aware women are integral in shaping our world.

Teaching our youth about women’s history, showing them examples of high achieving women, and encouraging them to pursue their dreams regardless of gender is vital. Education about the accomplishments and contributions made by women enables both girls and boys to see that gender is not a factor in deciding what you can and can’t pursue in life.

The most powerful message a girl can receive is there are no limits. No limits to what subjects she can study or what career she can pursue. No limits to what sport she can play or role she can occupy. Imagine a world where there are no glass ceilings and no assumptions about what girls like or prefer. No one is saying “that subject is too hard” or “that sport is for boys” or “that position in the student body government is always won by a boy.” Imagine a world where girls challenge limits to explore new possibilities.

Fostering and developing girls’ talents, passions, and dreams will play a critical role toward advancing gender equality. To create future female leaders, we need to energize girls to approach learning with courage, embolden them to pursue their passion even in areas traditionally dominated by men, empower them to run for office, and encourage them to not only imagine, but achieve what the world has never seen. We must #BeBoldForChange.

Megan Murphy, Executive Director, National Coalition of Girls’ Schools