Through my time at Hewitt, I have found that the key to conquering the chaos that is life is in holding onto the threads of continuity that run through it all. In my case, those threads are each and every one of the people sitting behind me right now and the values that they and the Hewitt community have impressed upon me.
I ask you to remember the hope you feel today and turn it into strength for the weeks and months to come. Hope fuels ambition, it fuels your drive for success. You survived and you conquered, leading yourself to this moment, so remember it and let that feeling of pride and accomplishment spread throughout every inch of you. Use that feeling to push you when you hit the rougher patches, which are inevitable, as we all know.
This May, the Hewitt community gathered at a signing day event to celebrate Caitlin Doran, Class of 2019. An avid athlete who played varsity soccer for Hewitt throughout her high school career, Doran will attend the United States Naval Academy this fall as a Division I soccer recruit. Doran spoke with Director of Athletics Amy Mulligan about her passion for the game, why she chose the U.S. Naval Academy, and the importance of having female athletes as role models.
Knowing that play is important work, kindergarten teachers participated in a professional book study around how they could infuse more independence, inquiry, literacy, and math into student play. By putting research on girls’ learning into practice in their classrooms, these educators ensured that their students had new and exciting chances for creative playful experiences.
Each year, Hewitt students collaborate on scene-writing projects with Rattlestick Playwrights' Theater, then experience what it means to bring a script to life as professional actors perform their work. Designed to encourage students to think deeply about their own sense of purpose, these annual playwriting projects give middle schoolers the chance to immerse themselves in themes and ideas of personal, social, and global relevance.
This winter, seventh and eighth grade French students embarked on a journey to Québec City, where they learned about the province’s history, culture, and customs while putting their French language skills into practice. Whether bundling up for some of Canada’s famed winter activities, immersing themselves in First Nations history, or bonding with their host families, these eager middle school travelers embraced every aspect of their trip and returned to Hewitt with a new respect for the diverse viewpoints and experiences they encountered.
Arlene Padilla, Spanish Teacher and Tim Clare, Science Teacher
This February, seventh and eighth grade Spanish students had the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica, where they immersed themselves in the country’s language and culture while studying its impressive environmental sustainability efforts. As they journeyed far beyond the walls of Hewitt, students discovered that they were not simply practicing their Spanish, but in fact using the language to understand Costa Rica’s commitment to conservation practices and environmental education.
In Food Fights: Eating and Controversy in American History, juniors and seniors study American life through the history of food. Students learn about the “food fights” that lurk just beneath many prominent and lesser-known controversies, and they use food to understand the intimate lives of the people who have inhabited this continent for thousands of years.
Carla Waldron and James Oates, Physical Education Teachers
Eleventh and twelfth graders relied on their creativity, teamwork, and problem-solving skills as they developed active and engaging P.E. lessons for our second graders. Whether leading a winter wonderland-themed yoga sequence or overseeing complex obstacle courses, the upper school students confidently stepped into their roles as teachers, sharing their passion for physical activity with their young students.
We are delighted to announce that Launa A. Schweizer will be Hewitt’s next head of middle school, effective July 1, 2019. Launa is thrilled to join the Hewitt community and work with our outstanding team of middle school teachers and fifth through eighth grade girls and families.
Hewitt Athletics saw an increase in the number of skilled and determined students participating in fall sports, and it was clear that our middle and upper school teams worked their hardest this season no matter the outcome. The positivity and excitement of the season shone through at each practice and game and it was clear that Hewitt athletes were proud to be a part of their respective teams.
Erik Sommer, Middle and Upper School Information and Library Specialist
One of my favorite questions is: "What does a day in the life of a librarian look like?" In addition to being a quiet spot to study and learn, the library is also a shared community space where students can gather for meetings and lead group discussions. Today was a good example of the many ways a librarian works with student scholars and researchers at The Hewitt School.
Tim Clare, Science Teacher and Middle School Coordinator of Sustainability
As Hewitt guides girls to become the bold leaders of tomorrow, we have been expanding sustainability and environmental literacy as a core component of our curriculum and community practices. Our middle school girls have great concern for the health of the planet and are discovering a genuine sense of purpose by actively working to implement sustainability initiatives throughout their school community.
Hewitt's seventh and eighth grade Shakespeare Workshop offers a unique opportunity for small but mighty groups of young actors to gain confidence by experiencing all the steps necessary to give life to the Bard's 400 year old plays. The students wrestle with the meanings of the texts, but even more importantly they wrestle with a deeper understanding of metaphors present in Shakespeare's writing.
Chris Leaver and James Oates, Physical Education Teachers
Hewitt’s physical education program provides students with the tools they need to live a healthy and active lifestyle while instilling a passion for physical activity and movement that goes beyond school hours and lasts a lifetime. With classes that center around movement and fitness, sports technique and strategy, and yoga and dance instruction, Hewitt girls learn early on that they all have something to offer and gain from their physical education classes.
Hewitt’s summer grant program supports faculty experiences that align with the school’s four academic pillars - presence, empathy, research, and purpose. Read on to learn how this year’s summer grant recipients engaged in mindful interactions, expanded their perspectives, fostered their own growth mindset, and affirmed their purpose as educators and as individuals.
This September, second graders did the important work of setting up and organizing their classroom libraries. During the first few days of school the girls explored their libraries with excitement, their curiosity and enthusiasm contagious. Collaboratively, they began to investigate bins of books, having conversations about what types of books were in each and what they noticed about the books they were reading.
Margaret Brown and Meredith Miller, Kindergarten Teachers
Whether student, faculty, or staff, all new members of our community are paired with a buddy who offers guidance, support, and friendship as they navigate their first year at a new school. As the youngest members of our community, kindergarteners are welcomed to Hewitt through a unique partnership with the senior class, allowing for a special relationship to grow between the oldest and youngest students at Hewitt.
Benjamin Joffe, Middle and Upper School Latin Teacher
Having spent much of the year applying their knowledge of Latin vocabulary to a systematic and rigorous study of English derivatives, Hewitt’s seventh and eighth grade Latinists devoted the final weeks of school to regaling their classmates with tales from ancient Pompeii.
Hewitt’s dedication to fostering empathy in our students makes our partnership with Riley’s Way Foundation a natural fit. Throughout the year, Hewitt upper school girls work with peers from the Young Women’s Leadership School - Astoria on the Riley’s Way Youth Council, a public and independent school partnership designed to develop kind and compassionate leaders.
Each spring, a delegation of Hewitt’s middle and upper school students participate in the Packer Model Congress, where they engage in heated but civil debates about taxes, foreign aid, veterans’ affairs, and environmental policy. Delegates view the annual event as yet another opportunity to make their ideas known and their voices heard.
In Hamlet, Shakespeare wrote, “We know what we are, but we know not what we may be.” Well, I know something of what we are. We’re venturers and friends, students and sisters. Above all, we are Hewitt girls. As we walk out into the next stages of our lives as women, we do so with the immeasurable potential to become anything we want to be.
Good morning, families, students, colleagues, members of the Board of Trustees, and first among equals, good morning to the Hewitt Class of 2018. Look around you and memorize this moment, your classmates, your families, your teachers, this beautiful place, and the chance to sit quietly just for a little while so you can remember it.
This April, the Hewitt community gathered to celebrate the opening night of our student-curated art exhibition, Diversity and Identity: The Pieces of Your Puzzle. From thoughtful self-portraits to an interactive world map to a school-wide collaborative mural, each work of art spoke to the exhibition’s theme, recognizing the beauty of the Hewitt community’s diverse perspectives and experiences.
As most people were just waking up and beginning their morning routines, the 14 members of Hewitt’s varsity tennis team were arriving at the courts ready to practice. The hardworking and passionate team grew incredibly close over the course of the season, making it all the way to the quarterfinals of the AAIS tournament, with an impressive 7-3 record the rest of the season.
This spring, faculty advisors focused the ninth grade advisory program on empathy skill-building and trained in council, a method of story sharing developed by the Ojai Foundation. Council provides a space where students can voice their opinions and share their stories, knowing they will be heard by their peers without comment or judgment.
Believing strongly that an artist must have empathy in order to tell and honor another human being’s story, Ms. Britt asks her seventh grade drama students to step into the shoes of a classmate through a project in which girls learn, reflect on, and ultimately perform another’s story.
Earlier this year, first graders noticed the chairlift at the front entrance to McKelvey Hall. When it came time for students to begin their study of Central Park, Ms. Hashim seized the opportunity to change the traditional curriculum, harnessing her students’ interest by learning about Central Park through the eyes of the elderly or disabled.
Alexa Collingwood and Samia Soodi, Third Grade Teachers
This March, visitors to Hewitt’s third grade classrooms found themselves rubbing elbows with a myriad of famous and vibrant women from every era of history. Guests expecting an ordinary wax museum full of motionless figures were in for a treat as the third graders, dressed as historical figures, came to life to share their stories.
Whether building a robot from scratch or working alongside a teammate to troubleshoot a pesky programming glitch, students in Hewitt’s middle school robotics program are design-thinkers and problem-solvers who learn from their successes and challenges.
Estefania Suquilanda, Hewitt’s lower school tech support specialist, has always had a passion for repairing gadgets. “My goal is to pass on the repair bug to Hewitt students from kindergarten to twelfth grade. Whether dealing with a cracked phone screen or an argument with a best friend, knowing how to repair things is an important skill to have.”
Jennifer Errico, Educational Technologist and Lindsey Brown and Maggie Turner, Kindergarten Teachers
Hewitt kindergarteners approach their role as Hewitt's newest community members with fresh eyes, deep curiosity, and lots of enthusiasm. Throughout their first year of school, kindergarteners focus on identity explorations, learning about their larger school community and their own role in that community.
Tim Clare, Science Teacher and Middle School Coordinator of Sustainability
Hewitt’s commitment to sustainability spans divisions and disciplines. Between clubs, courses, and community service, faculty members are developing a variety of ways for students, teachers, and families to get involved with efforts to spread awareness and education about the environment.
Elaine Schreger, Fourth Grade Teacher and Grade Level Coordinator
Hewitt’s Sandwich Friday tradition goes back to 2005, when this service relationship originally began in our first, second, and third grade classrooms. Since then, it has expanded to fourth grade and kindergarten so that every member of the lower school shares in this empathy-building experience.
Hewitt fifth graders tapped into their skills as mathematicians, problem solvers, coders, researchers, and writers to plan road trips across the United States. With only a few specific guidelines about budget and mileage, students were encouraged to make independent decisions about routes, finances, food, and lodging as they planned elaborate trip itineraries.
Each year, Hewitt’s world languages department offers opportunities for middle and upper school students to travel abroad to Spanish- and French-speaking countries. These trips, filled with new experiences and discoveries, provide students with the chance to immerse themselves in the language, culture, history, and culinary traditions of different cities.
On any given day, visitors to Hewitt’s O’Hara Family Innovation Lab might smell the burnt wood of the laser cutter, see traces of sawdust left over from a woodworking project, or hear the hum of a 3D printer bringing student designs to life.
Carly S., Class of 2018, Student Head of Athletics
This fall, Hewitt’s athletes hit the ground running in volleyball, soccer, and cross country. Our varsity and JV teams were complemented by a record number of middle school student athletes, and the season was characterized by talent, skill, determination, and teamwork.
This summer, several Hewitt faculty members participated in mindfulness training designed specifically for educators. Read their personal reflections to learn how they are incorporating mindfulness practices into their classrooms.
Spurred by questions based on both hypothetical and actual situations, fifth and sixth students utilize classical philosophies and political theories like those of Aristotle, Kant, and Rawls to guide their critical reasoning as they consider dilemmas in law and justice.
At Hewitt, we believe in empowering girls to establish a sense of self rooted in confidence, empathy, and hardiness through active, girl-centered academics and authentic connections to the world beyond our campus.
At The Hewitt School, all middle school students are given the opportunity to learn robotics, and interested girls are encouraged to build on this foundation by participating in our Hawks Robotics elective.
This March, over 700 members of the Hewitt community, including students, current and incoming families, alumnae, faculty, staff, and Met Museum educators, gathered at The Vinegar Factory to celebrate the opening of Feminist Stance: What Do You Stand For?