In eighth-grade English, Hathaway Brown students were asked to write a thank you letter to someone who affected their lives in a positive way — someone who they wouldn’t normally consider thanking. Kiran Hebert ’23 wrote the following letter to the five women who founded HB.
Dear Grace Fay Hooker, Carrie M. Smith, Clara M. Lyon, Dolly Glaser, and Carrie A. Tisdale,
I’ve heard your story countless times, whether it’s Legacy Day, the Thanksgiving assembly, or referenced by teachers. It has been shown in plays or as examples of the characteristics we should have as young women. We talk about your story so much because what all of you did has impacted the lives of the Hathaway Brown community and specifically my life in so many ways.
The story is not told the same way each time, but one word always repeated is courage. The courage you all had to stand up to the school system is admirable. It was very unusual for women to have an education, let alone to fight together for an only girls’ education. I cannot begin to imagine the courage needed to stand up in front of a school, a boys’ school for that matter, to fight for your rights.
Now, to be honest, I don’t know all the details of this story, other than the numerous silly Legacy Day plays trying to explain it, but what I do know is this. Five courageous girls all went to Brooks Military School with a mission. A mission to give girls the same education offered to boys. I know that this was the work of five friends wanting to make a difference. Standing together and not stopping until what they wanted was given. I know that your small sisterhood has made a strong community that I am part of today, and I know that your courage has taught us to try to fight a little harder, and scream a little louder. Your collective courage let thousands of girls experience an amazing education and become part of such a close-knit community.
I am lucky enough to be one of those girls. I have been going to Hathaway Brown since I was two years old, so it is all I know. The friends I’ve made, the experiences I’ve had, and the things I’ve learned have all been because of HB. Without you, I could never have had the opportunity to have this education or be able to grow in this sisterhood. I’ve learned to push myself on the rope courses in Adventure Learning, speak loud with eye contact during presentations, and be willing to fight for myself and others every day.
Who knows where I would be, what I would be doing without Hathaway Brown? Yes, the school has taught me about verbs and long division, but it’s so much more than that. Without going to this school I would be a completely different person. Without seeing the same faces in the halls, laughing at the same jokes, playing the same games, or experiencing the same fun, I could not talk the same way or solve the same problems. In other words, it’s safe to say that HB has made me the person I am today.
At Hathaway Brown, we are taught to be girls who step out of our comfort zone, raise our voices, and fight for our rights. We learn the difficult history that women lived through, through education, suffrage, and daily life. However, we learn we are blazers who blaze the trails ahead of us with courage. We learn how to be leaders, with or without a title. We learn to be loud with our actions and our words. We learn to be people like you.