Allison Priebe Brooks '94 and daughter McClain '21
Episcopal's first mother-daughter legacy charts new territory.
Allison Priebe Brooks joined the Class of 1994 in Episcopal’s second year of coeducation. A Northern Virginian who wanted a change of pace, she made the decision to attend EHS and become part of a lasting legacy of female students at The High School. Now, her daughter, McClain Brooks ’21, is building on the legacy that her mother began more than 25 years ago.
When Allison came to Episcopal, the School was in the midst of a challenging time, she says. “Girls were just inserted into the boys’ world; they didn’t quite know how to deal with us. I was a little bit of a round peg trying to fit into a square hole. It wasn’t until later in life that I realized that the values that were instilled in me during my time at EHS would propel me to become the woman I am today.”
After high school, Allison attended the University of Georgia, where she majored in journalism with a minor in political science. After graduating, she worked in the U.S. Senate for three years, but soon realized that fashion, and more specifically, jewelry design, was her passion. She enrolled in jewelry design classes at the Smithsonian and began to make her own pieces. Allison, who was named one of Alexandria’s 40-Under-40 honorees in 2016, is now a jewelry designer and the founder and owner of Queen Bee Designs, which has a showroom in Alexandria. Allison introduced McClain to Episcopal from an early age. “She came back for reunions with me, we participated in Stop Hunger Now, and we came to The Game. I just wanted her to see what it was all about,” she says.
McClain’s decision to attend boarding school was an easy one. Allison says of the decision, “At our public school, McClain would have done well. But I wanted her to come here where she could soar.”
McClain, currently a sophomore and captain of the JV field hockey team, is independent and thrives in a boarding school environment. Allison says, “I have seen her make good decisions and she’s growing independently. She performed a duet in chapel and she is taking honors classes; watching her make those good decisions has been very rewarding.”
For McClain, the best part of life at EHS is “how close everyone is. It is nice to live close to my friends so that I can just walk down the hall and knock on their door if I want to hang out with them.” Of the changes that Allison has seen in the School since her time on the Hill, she says, “It is nice for me to see how the School has evolved and how women have blazed bright, awesome trails.” “My mom shares my love for The High School, so I think it is really cool that she was one of the first females to attend EHS. It’s also really fun to be around some of her teachers who are still here today, like Mr. Streed and Mr. Phillips,” says McClain.