What Does it Mean to Be A Hamlin Girl?

January is a recent memory, February is now here, and the primary question on my mind during this month of admissions and high school placement is, “What Does it Mean to Be A Hamlin Girl?” The Admissions Committee has hundreds of admissions folders to read carefully, each profile telling the story of a young girl who is beloved by her parents and teachers. With so many wonderful girls to choose from, who emerges as a Hamlin girl? How do we know her when we see her?

There is an intellectual spark in Hamlin girls, even at a young age. They are curious and quirky, funny and spunky, kind and inclusive. These qualities can be found in girls who range in demeanor from shy and observant to audacious and slightly bossy, and I love the wide range of personalities! It is such fun to see the girls’ emerging interests and passions in math, literature, animals, travel, visual and performing arts, sports, and world languages. We select girls who see the world as a giant classroom and who want to try new things; we also look for a diverse group of girls who are intrigued by the lives of others. Of course, there are always more “lion cubs” out there than we can invite into our lair, but it is a blessing to be able to welcome many new girls and their families to Hamlin each fall.

At the other end of the spectrum, I am in the close company of the soon-to-be graduates of the school during the month of February. The Class of 2013 is an amazing group of vivacious young women, and they have been making us proud since the first day of their 8th grade year. They see themselves as confident leaders, and they accept with enthusiasm their responsibility as role models. Since the girls’ high school applications are now complete, I have been inviting them to my home for ice cream parties to celebrate the milestone and to check in about their Hamlin experiences, both past and present. An intriguing conversation always ensues when I ask the 8th grade girls, “What Does it Mean to Be A Hamlin Girl?” I tell them that I will use their words during admissions events with prospective parents, and they are always proud to share their thoughts. I now share some of their beautiful sentiments with you:
  • being a Hamlin girl means that you are striving to reach the top of the mountain, but you are aware that you won’t stand on the summit by yourself. You pull others up to stand there with you.
  • being a Hamlin girl means being positive and having a good state of mind
  • being a Hamlin girl means understanding your friendships and treating others well
  • being a Hamlin girl means taking academics seriously
  • being a Hamlin girl means knowing how to study
  • being a Hamlin girl means knowing how to prove other people wrong
  • being a Hamlin girl means shying away from being “popular, plastic” girls—a Hamlin girl has self-value
  • being a Hamlin girl means valuing diversity in all of its forms
  • being a Hamlin girl means knowing how to handle disappointments and bouncing back from mistakes-- being resilient and taking anything that is thrown at you
  • being a Hamlin girl means being responsible for your own actions
  • being a Hamlin girl means being confident that you have the tools to succeed in school and in life
  • being a Hamlin girl means being a good community member—someone who is confident and responsible
  • being a Hamlin girl means being ready and excited to try new things
  • being a Hamlin girl means being prepared for the world
  • being a Hamlin girl means having adults around you who teach you how to think, not what to think
  • being a Hamlin girl means being given the tools for life—we use those tools to build our own dreams
  • being a Hamlin girl means having our own independence
  • being a Hamlin girl means that we help each other to reach our dreams, no matter what it takes, whether we must travel a mile at a time or an inch at time, we are supportive of one another
  • being a Hamlin girl means knowing that it’s not all about you
  • being a Hamlin girl means not being serious all the time and having fun
  • being a Hamlin girl means having integrity and having confidence to stand up for what you believe in
  • being a Hamlin girl means understanding that there is no one kind of Hamlin girl; Hamlin helps you to become a better version of yourself
The 8th grade girls’ sincere comments make my heart sing and my spirit soar. I consider their self-reports to be reliable and tangible evidence of the outcomes of a Hamlin education, and we will continue to use that information to attract new girls and families to the school. Extraordinary girls attract outstanding teachers, and outstanding teachers are able to deliver an engaging, cohesive, and rigorous program. Strong educational programs distinguish the great schools from the good ones. No doubt about it – two secrets to our school’s strength and staying power are a thorough and thoughtful admissions process and successful high school placement. The cycle of excellence begins with the selection of an amazing Hamlin girl.
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Wanda M. Holland Greene

Wanda M. Holland Greene is currently in her ninth year as Head of School. She is a proud New Yorker and a graduate of Columbia College, receiving her B.A. in English and Psychology. She earned her M.A. in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University. Wanda complements her work as an educator by serving independent schools and as trustee for Columbia University. She is a vocal performer (jazz, gospel, and soul), an avid reader, poet, and writer.

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2120 Broadway
San Francisco. California 94115
Tel. 415.922.0300 • Fax. 415.674.5409
Tax ID #: 94-1393894

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The Hamlin School educates girls to meet the challenges of their time and inspires them to become extraordinary thinkers and innovators, courageous leaders, and  women of integrity.

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