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All boarding, grades 9-12 in Alexandria, Virginia


The First 48: “We Had to Be Each Other’s Family”

Episcopal's Washington Program offered a special treat during its March 29 program centered around Women’s History Month.
In recognition of the 25th anniversary of coeducation at EHS, five members of “The First 48,” the inaugural class of girls at The High School who entered in the fall of 1991, came to the Hill to participate in a panel discussion and to share their experiences and insights with interested students. More than 200 students, faculty and guests joined the alumnae in Pendleton for an hour of frank talk about their favorite memories, their struggles, their friendships and their lives after Episcopal.

Lucy Whittle Goldstein '97, who returned to EHS three years ago to teach English and who entered the School when many of the First 48 were seniors, moderated a panel featuring Gretchen Byrd '95, Amy Fannon Cupic '94, Sarah Baltimore McElwain '95, Comer Shuford Wear '95, and Patrice Scott Williams '95.

Among the many topics they explored in the hour-long event included talk of life inside Evans Dorm, the sometimes-challenging adjustment of the School to girls and girls to a culture not fully prepared for them, and the support they all acknowledged receiving from the faculty.

“There wasn’t a lot of communication out with our parents in the early days,” noted Sarah Baltimore McElwain ‘95, reminding the students of a time when instant access to the outside world was limited to a dorm pay phone. “We had to be each other’s family.”

A video of the full panel discussion is included on our YouTube channel and embedded below, and you can view pictures from the event on our Flickr channel.

While half the students attended the First 48 panel, the other half participated in an impressive array of alternate ways to explore the day’s theme. A large group attended a screening of the Academy Award-nominated film “Hidden Figures," while smaller groups enjoyed presentations from Quotabelle founder Pauline Weger, former White House National Security Advisor Nancy Bearg, and Global Trade Group’s Melanie Frank. Still other small groups visited the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument, the N Street Village, and Laird Acres for a reflective exercise celebrating women poets.

Read the EHS Magazine feature on the First 48 online.
Watch the video commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the First 48 on our YouTube channel!
    • First 48 panelists Amy Fannon Cupic '94, Gretchen Byrd '95, Sarah Baltimore McElwain '95, Comer Shuford Wear '95, and Patrice Scott Williams '95 sit with Lucy Whittle Goldstein '97 on the Pendleton stage.

    • The panelists posed for a group shot with the current students to celebrate the 25 years of co-ed life on the Hill since their arrival in the fall of 1991.

    • Almost half of the students chose to attend the First 48 panel for their Washington Program experience of offerings centered around Women's History Month.

    • The First 48 panelists shared a lunch conversation with select faculty, students and staff in Bryan Library.

Episcopal High School Since 1839
1200 North Quaker Lane Alexandria, Virginia 22302 | 703-933-3000