St. Andrew's Schools
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St. Andrew’s Schools: Preparing girls for a fulfilling life after graduation

Experience is often the key to gaining insight into your own interests, passions, and aspirations in life. For children, schools are the environment where this discovery begins. Everything from the subjects you study to the extracurricular activities in which you participate can help create a clearer picture of who you are — and who you want to become.

Work experience only enhances this by providing students with much-needed exposure to the professional world around them. Abigail Sipes was one of the many students who participated in an internship programme before the end of her high school years. It proved to be invaluable experience for her.

“I learned so much as a high school student about the job market,” she shares. “The class guided me and helped narrow down what path I wanted to take and ultimately led to my success as an adult.”

Sipes is a 2018 graduate of The Priory, an all-girls institution that educates learners from kindergarten through grade 12. As the oldest all-girls school in Hawaiʻi, The Priory is part of St. Andrew’s Schools, which also includes The Prep (K-6, all boys) and Queen Emma Preschool (ages two to five years old, co-ed).Offering the only coordinate lower school (grades K-6) educational programme, St. Andrew’s offers a proven way to help girls and boys achieve the greatest learning and personal growth at every age.

St. Andrew's Schools

The Priory is an all-girls school devoted to educating capable, career-ready and responsible young women.

Each school benefits from the school’s 150 years of teaching, making for an education that honours tradition while embracing innovation. Much of this involves creating an environment that celebrates the unique strengths and talents of all its students. This means crafting a curriculum that’s project-based and highly participatory, encouraging each student to realize themselves as individuals and uncover how they might positively contribute to the community.

Priory in the City is a prime example of this. Part of The Priory’s College and Career Readiness programme, this unique offering takes full advantage of the school’s downtown location in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi to give students real-life exposure to government, businesses, nonprofits, arts and cultural centres, and healthcare systems. The goal of Priory in the City is to prepare girls for their futures so that they can be all they aspire to be and use their gifts and talents to make the world a better place.

The Priory is the only independent school on the island to offer an internship programme as part of a student’s experience in high school. Sipes is one of hundreds of Priory students who have had this amazing opportunity.

Personalization is at the heart of a St. Andrew’s Schools education and Priory in the City is no different. Before their internship experience, a career coach encourages students to think about their own interests and aspirations. The career coach guides students as they research companies, allowing them to prepare relevant questions and discover how suited certain professions would be for them.

The Global Leadership Centre is similarly designed to encourage individual thinking, but also to mold students into the compassionate, responsible changemakers that are sorely needed for tomorrow. This is achieved through a curriculum built on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. At its core is a firm desire to cultivate peace and harmony on a global scale — and address the challenges that prevent this.

St. Andrew's Schools

Students have a rich array of activities to take part in between classes, making for an exciting schooling experience

In between classes, students attend Global Leadership Centre-sponsored events, conferences, and workshops. These center around learning from experts about real-world issues that affect local, national and global communities. Students have previously participated in voter registration drives, attended the Pacific Model UN Conference, and planted a record-breaking 1,000 trees in a single day.

“Part of the Global Leadership programme is to gain an understanding of and be open-minded to the world around you,” says Sipes. “It will provide you with experiences that shape you into a person better suited to tackling challenges in life that involve dealing with people who are different from you — which, of course, there is an abundance of out there.”

As part of the Global Leadership programme, Sipes learned other invaluable skills as well: to become a better listener and the ability to connect with people from all backgrounds, to name just two. She brought these skills to Purdue University.

“While in university, I was an orientation leader for international students,” she says. “The position required me to be sensitive to different cultures and backgrounds and be open-minded to the fact that not everyone thinks as I do. I learned a lot from my students, and I hope they were able to learn from me. To this day, we are still great friends and are always teaching one another something new about our cultures.”

Such an approach to learning produces results. 100% of Priory students participate in Priory in the City, ensuring they participate in an internship before graduation. This is an invaluable learning opportunity that greatly widens their prospects of what they may wish to pursue in college. Seventy percent of the Class of 2021 are pursuing a college major in a STEM field. This impressive feat helps bridge the gender disparity in STEM fields.

All in all, such initiatives are successful in helping girls realize their full potential. “It has inspired me to become a person who gives and cares for others around them, who wants to understand what makes others different, and to help people…,” says Sipes. “It was an enlightening experience, and I believe anyone given the opportunity to part take in this experience should do so.”

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