Head of School Virginia Connor shared her passion for elementary education and commitment to serving the students, faculty, and parents of St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s at the school’s annual Admission Open House on Oct. 19. Prospective parents from all around the city toured the school and met with faculty and current parent volunteers to learn more about the school’s early childhood and elementary programs.
“I am incredibly blessed to serve in this role,” Ms. Connor said. “I begin my day seeing children come to school with their parents. I watch love in action—parents for their children, and children for their parents.”
Ms. Connor shared the story of the school’s founding by the Rev. Mother Ruth, an Episcopal nun from Harlem who was forced to pursue higher education and her religious vocation in Canada because she was biracial. When she returned to New York, she was determined to build a school where children from diverse backgrounds could learn from one another and about one another. This, she believed would change the misconceptions and fears that divide people.
“Her mission, our mission, has not changed,” said Ms. Connor. “We still know that a diverse school environment is essential for preparing children to live and thrive in our world today.”
Ms. Connor discussed the school’s religious tradition, which she said is especially relevant in these anxious times. “Our religious tradition, spiritual practice, and commitment to service give us a natural response to the events that are shaking our students and their families,” she said.
The highlight of the event, she said, was the chance to meet the faculty. “They are joyful in their approach to daily lessons and also skillful in teaching students the habits of excellence,” she said. “Like me, they are deeply committed to St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s, and their length of service is among the many things that bring me great pride.”
Current parents were eager to connect with Open House attendees, to demystify the admission process and share their perspectives on St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s program.
“The admission process is an amazing opportunity to see, hear, and feel what a school’s community is all about,” said Erika Mills, the mother of a second grader and a senior kindergartener. “It can be a surprising process, but if a school feels right for your family, it probably is.”
Brita Gaffey, the mother of a new nursery student, said that the school’s cohesive community has made for a smooth start to the school year, both for her and her son. “Even just six weeks into school, we already feel at home here,” she said. “Being around faculty, staff, and other families who, to quote Ms. Connor, ‘first and foremost love children,’ gives us a sense of comfort that would usually take much longer to achieve.”