Helping Girls Become Young Women

Helping Girls Become Young Women

Martha Griswold, Academic Dean

Helping Girls Become Young Women

I think we do a great job of letting girls be their best selves. We guide, support, and help girls get to their best selves, without telling them what that is. Spirituality and service are such an important piece of that. The Honor Code supports this, also, and allows our students to take ownership of shaping the community of which they truly wish to be a part. The Honor Code is so important. It’s our safety net. An honor code, when implemented and respected well, lets us all relax and concentrate on what we have to accomplish.

I do not feel the hierarchy among students here that I have felt at other schools—students are respected for what they bring to the table, for their intellect, gifts, talents, and desire to make a good situation for themselves. The tangible aspect of this is hard to capture in words, but you feel it reverberating throughout the community as you talk to the girls and see them go about their daily lives.

Extraordinary Enrichment Programs

The special programs we have in place are unlike any other school’s. The new library and Advanced Learning Center will be a key component of every student’s academic experience here, once renovations are complete. It will also bolster our iPad Program, helping us integrate that technology and hands-on style of learning for every class and every student.

The iQuest Program, international travel, and our commitment to exposing students to life outside of Chatham Hall offer more one-of-a-kind experiences that students would never get anywhere else.

And our Leader in Residence Program provides so many opportunities for engagement for our students. Girls stand in line to have their photos taken with Gloria Steinem, Venus Williams, and Zainab Salbi—yes, because of their fame, but more importantly because in a small group where they could ask questions, they heard something that was important, meaningful, and which caused them to think.

Quiet, Supportive Atmosphere

In Chatham’s rural setting, we do not have the pull or distraction of a big city to erode the strength of our program on weekends…there is no just “going into town” for the purpose of simply getting off campus and wandering. Students are intentional in how they spend their time. It’s not that they don’t have down time, but they make clear decisions about which off-campus activities are most important to them and balance that with spending meaningful time with friends on the weekend—baking, watching a movie together, or making a cool video because an idea struck them.

Collegiality is also an important part of our community. Faculty work together to support students and find great ways of putting differences—and they do exist—aside. It’s important for students to see how we enjoy the fun that is inherent when surrounded by young people with hopes, dreams, and promise.