D.C. Alumni Share Wisdom and Memories with Students
On the year’s second McCain-Ravenel Monday, four accomplished local alumni spoke about how proximity to D.C. while on The Holy Hill defined their career paths. Gray MacNair King ‘96, Brennan Killeen Lynch ‘05, Ted Peterson ‘07, and Hadiyyah Abdul-Jalaal ’17
Jeremy Goldstein, executive director of the McCain-Ravenel Center for Intellectual and Moral Courage, interviewed the panelists on stage in Pendleton, asking them everything from how they gravitated back to D.C. to what they would tell their former Episcopal selves.
Former Trustee Gray MacNair King ’96 grew up in Washington, D.C. It was only at Episcopal where she learned to see D.C. through the eyes of a tourist. Her favorite memory remains “going to visit the monuments at night while the city is quiet,” which is still a beloved tradition at the School. In fact, the students capped the end of McCain-Ravenel Monday at the monuments that same evening.
Peterson remembered going to George W. Bush’s second-term inauguration in 2005 — and how that experience was so unique to Episcopal. “They dropped us off at the metro with a ticket and said, ‘Go watch democracy,’” Peterson joked.
Abdul-Jalaal credited Episcopal as the place that fostered her open-mindedness. “Be okay being uncomfortable,” she told students as she encouraged them to take chances on courses or experiences while at Episcopal. After completing a human trafficking project at EHS, she followed that passion and now works with survivors through AmeriCorps VISTA.
They also told students of their own experiences during their senior externships. While the program has had different names since 1996, the powerful impact on the students remains the same.
Delaware-born Lynch, who is a registered nurse at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital, spoke of interning for Delaware’s then Senator Joe Biden on Capitol Hill. While she doesn’t work in politics, she told students, “I really value that time I had on the Hill.”
All panelists spoke of teachers who inspired them, almost all of whom still work on The Holy Hill. Abdul-Jalaal and Lynch got to thank Betsy Carmody and Steve Castle, who were in the crowd, reminding students that Episcopal roots run deep. “Be proud of this place,” Peterson said, and the rest of the panelists agreed.