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.”
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.