Miss Hall’s School: A day in the life of a thriving student
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Miss Hall’s School: A day in the life of a thriving student

Welmerly Maria longed for a high-quality education that could broaden her horizons. She enlisted the help of A Better Chance to find the ideal place for her. Their guidance led her to Miss Hall’s School, an inclusive, girl-centred boarding school located in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts. During a pre-COVID tour, Welmerly was captivated by the kindness and warmth emanating from every corner of campus. “It was a very homey place,” she reminisces. “Everyone had a smile on their face and said hello despite not knowing me.”

Immediately, Welmerly felt like an integral part of a close-knit community — regardless of the fact that her time at the school started in isolation. The true sense of a “first-week” experience came alive when Welmerly and her peers returned to in-person learning during the 2020-21 school year. The opportunity to interact face-to-face, even while maintaining social distance, instilled the renewed feeling of connection and camaraderie for which Miss Hall’s is known. Hence why an empowered Welmerly was able to confidently immerse herself in an academic programme entirely her own. 

At Miss Hall’s, students shape their academic path based on their interests. Advisors provide guidance to ensure course selections lead students to success. “The curriculum at MHS embraces broad perspectives and invites students into the driver’s seat to discover what is important to them,” confirms Dean of Academics and Faculty, Lisa J. Alberti. 

With pandemic restrictions in the rearview mirror, Welmerly has been able to dive deep into the History of Race in the U.S., led by Dr. Liza Burbank. This year-long elective explores the ways race has been constructed in the country through legal, political and cultural systems. It also covers the effective strategies adopted by people of colour to challenge racism past and present. 

Recently, Dr. Burbank took her class to Washington, DC, for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. There, students met with the curator of the National Women’s History Museum as part of a partnership Miss Hall’s has established with the museum. They attended the Women Making History Awards Gala — an event that brought together influential figures like Uma Thurman, Sharon Stone, and Meryl Streep. They visited the National Museum of the American Indian and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Thanks to the powerful Miss Hall’s network, learners rubbed shoulders with women making a difference in government, too. 

The girls of Miss Hall’s are given plenty of opportunities to shine outside the classroom, as well. Source: Miss Hall’s School

“It was an amazing experience!” enthuses Welmerly. “The topic of DE&I (diversity, equity, and inclusion) is special to me, and I want to do something with it in college. These opportunities set me up in a good way because they really tie into my leadership position as Diversity Coalition (DivCo) tri-Head.”

Welmerly joined DivCo in hopes of learning more about DE&I and how she can promote the power of inclusivity within Miss Hall’s and beyond. She and the DivCo team organised a DivCo Dessert & Dialogue series to spread awareness among the broader community. “I love being able to discuss topics important to me and to learn from and inform others,” she says.

That’s not all Welmerly takes on outside the classroom. She plays Varsity Soccer and recently took up Lacrosse, taking on the daunting task of playing goalie and earning all-star recognition this season. She plays the bongo, bass, drums, and keyboard in a couple of campus bands. She’s a committed member of the Theatre Ensemble, landing roles in “Once Upon a Mattress”, “Mary Poppins,” and “Almost Maine.” She works with her peers to reduce food waste and educate the local community about environmental issues. She’s a proud participant of the student-led LatinX Affinity Group, which she will have the privilege of leading in the upcoming year — a responsibility she embraces with grace and enthusiasm.

Most of the expressive arts programme at Miss Hall’s is led by students. Source: Miss Hall’s School

“I helped plan this year’s grand finale dinner, celebrating the LatinX seniors, and got everyone to write notes for them,” Welmerly shares. “We ordered take-out from a Colombian restaurant, La Fogata, which was delicious, and reminded me of home.”

With all this in mind, it’s easy to understand why Welmerly is the recipient of this year’s Andrea Becker Prize, which recognises an outstanding underclass student who has demonstrated excellence in academics, extracurricular activities, school spirit, and citizenship. Every year, Miss Hall’s faculty members cast their vote on the most worthy student, and Welmerly’s commendation explains why she was an obvious choice: 

“This student truly and fully embodies the description of this award. In the words of one faculty member, ‘her warmth, kindness, and generosity of spirit make a positive impact on those around her.’ In the words of another, ‘When I thought of this award, Wel came to my mind first. She cares deeply about her peers, DE&I work, her own growth, and the sense of community that we strive to uphold.’”

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