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Ashley Hall Perspectives — Summer 2018 1


McBee, the campus pup, greets students every morning and loves to play ball on the sports court. Here he is with friend Isabella ’29.


2017 – 2018 OFFICERS Chairman Brett Hildebrand Vice Chair Artie Richards Secretary Heidi Ward Ravenel ’74 Treasurer Hugh C. Lane, Jr. MEMBERS-AT-LARGE Susanne Buck Cantey ’95 Emmie Aichele Dawson ’70 Ceara Donnelley Kenneth Harrell Philip Horn, Jr. Laurie Arnold Host ’73 Lenna Kirchner Kevin Mooney Rhett Ramsay Outten ’82 Sunil Patel, M.D. Karen Jenkins Phillips ’79 Anne Tamsberg Pope Barton Proctor Jerry Reves, M.D. Kaye Smith Eric Strickland Emily Swanson





Table of Contents Headlines | 02 A Tapestry of Madeleine | 04 Kairos and the Classical Education | 08 Madeleine L’Engle At-A-Glance | 09 Senior Project at Ashley Hall: A Music Bridge | 10 Will & Ability: School-Wide Effort Transforms Plastic Trash Into Artistic Conversation | 12 Going Social | 15 From Here to There: The Five Projects | 16 Celebrating the Sisterhood | 19 A Natural Wonder | 20 Exploring Writing Boundaries: Casey Aylward ’09 | 24 Ashley Hall…And Away! Commencement 2018 | 26 Remembering Two Ashley Hall Greats | 27

TRUSTEES EMERITI Mary Agnes Burnham Hood Martha Rivers Ingram ’53 Patricia T. Kirkland Elizabeth Rivers Lewine ’54 J. Conrad Zimmerman, Jr. HEAD OF SCHOOL Jill Swisher Muti

EDITOR Paula Edwards Harrell GRAPHIC DESIGN Amy Walters Creative CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Dr. Roscoe Davis, Jill Harper, Leslie Rowland, Jennifer Turner

Left: Upper School girls conducting science experiments in the lab.

PHOTOGRAPHY Meredith Adkins, Kelly Grace Photography, Emily Thompson

Bottom: Taking a moment to enjoy the Nature Retreat. Right: A scene from the Lower School production of The Caterpillar Thriller.



This spring, in honor of the centennial of Madeleine L’Engle’s birth, Ashley Hall designated the majestic oak pictured here The Madeleine Oak.

I don’t want to lose any part of who I was at Ashley Hall. It’s an essential part of who I am now. I don’t want ever to forget sitting high up in the limbs of a live oak tree and reading Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina.” —Madeleine L’Engle ’37, excerpted from her commencement address to the Ashley Hall Class of 1982 2

UNIQUELY ASHLEY HALL! One of our School’s greatest strengths is its cross-curricular ethos, which emphasizes the connective power of linking arts and humanities to science and math. This spring, our campus community took pride in celebrating Ashley Hall alumna Madeleine L’Engle, Class of 1937, the renowned author of the Newbery Award-winning classic, A Wrinkle in Time. Inspired by the recent film adaption of the novel by Walt Disney Pictures, we wanted to dive deeper into Madeleine’s life and learn from her ferocious tenacity and talent. From book reading events to Big Sister & Little Sister tesseract construction (don’t you love the tesseract gracing this issue’s cover?!), we embraced her engaging ideas with cross-divisional programming. Madeleine was such a trailblazer, not only as one of the few female science fiction writers in the early 1960s, but also in making her protagonist Meg Murry a young girl. As Madeleine declared, “I’m a female. Why would I give all the best ideas to a male?” When I think about it, so many of our students and alumnae are like “Meg.” Independent in thought and curious in nature, our girls are doing remarkable things both in and out of the classroom through inquiry-based experiential learning. The delight they take in learning is palpable and reminds me daily of what a special environment we have at Ashley Hall. From senior Anna Bitter, who dedicated her yearlong Senior Project to exploring the power of music in healing racial tensions, to alumna Casey Aylward, Class of 2009, who has pushed boundaries to achieve a new career as a software engineer, Ashley Hall girls lead by example. This sentiment is particularly poignant with the recent passing of former First Lady Barbara Pierce Bush, Class of 1943. A woman of impeccable strength and kindness, she embodied the true meaning of public service with a global mindset. As a leader in girls’ education offering deep learning and community engagement, Ashley Hall provides a unique environment where girls become self-reliant, independent thinkers at each stage of their development. In April, our entire School joined together to welcome and work with acclaimed New York-based multimedia artist Aurora Robson, who led a campus-wide effort to transform plastic trash into artistic conservation. It was powerful to see girls of all ages collaborating to address a world-wide environmental problem through creativity and innovation. This year, we also created a magical space on our Johns Island property, the Nature Retreat, a place where our younger students let their curiosity and imagination run wild while exploring the boundless wonders of the natural world. It is our privilege to partner with you in providing your children the nourishment and inspiration needed to be a trailblazer like Madeleine L’Engle—wherever their paths may lead them.

With kind regards,

Jill Muti Head of School





Weaving the Message of Kairos at Ashley Hall— Past, Present, Future by Lesley Rowland, Upper School English Faculty Member In planning the campus-wide celebration of renowned author and alumna Madeleine L’Engle ’37, the Ashley Hall community desired to go beyond merely anticipating the premier of a new A Wrinkle in Time feature film. In order to fully appreciate Madeleine and her literary contributions, the entire School embarked on a journey to understand and honor the writer’s powerful message of embracing kairos, the perfect moment in time.

A PERFECT MOMENT As English teachers, we teach our students to be aware of the necessity to use a consistent tense and not switch between past and present or present and future. However, in life, we constantly do this. As we live our adult years, we remember how we felt as children. We dream of what will be as we currently wish it to be, which was influenced by what we hoped for in the past. We weave together the past, present, and the present that is yet-to-be. Essentially, we measure our lives by one form of time, which the ancient Greeks called chronos. It is how old we are, how old our children are, and how many years we have been in professional careers. However, another form of time, kairos (from the ancient Greek καιρός), is not linear, or sequential.

Madeleine L'Engle ’37


It is the right or proper time for what is happening in the moment. Madeleine L’Engle thought kairos was more than a simple opportunity. She saw it as the ideal time, a distinct moment that can never happen the same way again. She described it as the following in her book Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art (1972):

“Kairos. Real time. God's time. That time which breaks through chronos with a shock of joy, that time we do not recognize while we are experiencing it, but only afterwards, because kairos has nothing to do with chronological time… The artist at work is in kairos. The child at play, totally thrown outside himself in the game, be it building a sandcastle or making a daisy chain, is in kairos. In kairos we become what we are called to be as human beings, cocreators with God, touching on the wonder of creation.” Once a perfect moment arrives, it is not gone after it happens; instead, it is absorbed into the ongoing experience of our lives to produce new instances of kairos. All of us at Ashley Hall experience and observe kairos daily. We see the Early Education Center (EEC) and Lower School girls immersed in play during our daily walk to the Dining Commons for lunch. We observe our students lost in thought while tackling a writing assignment, unaware of hours passing during Harkness discussions, and oblivious to the outside world while producing their next musical interpretation of a text. Teaching is a craft, an art like weaving, and on the best days, teachers can be lost in it while experiencing the co-creation of knowledge with their students. Daily, we take advantage of the opportunities Ashley Hall provides us. Madeleine’s legacy is one of those opportunities.

THE PATTERN EMERGES Time is a loom, just like the Earth Loom tucked in the bamboo bush located to the side of the Bear Cave on campus. Spaced the same distance apart from each other, the vertical warp threads are always the same, just as we prescribe 365 days to a year. Dragging the horizontal weft thread, the shuttle goes back and forth, back and forth, and seemingly repeats the same actions year after year: life and death, youth and age, school and work, seconds and hours, days and weeks. However, at one point, the weaver begins to recognize the pattern being woven. When a pattern emerges, that is when the weaver has a decision to make: to continue with the existing plan or to shape what is into something different. No one else can make that decision, no one else can craft that weaving, and no one else can write one’s own story. Madeleine shared this wisdom with the Class of 1982 when she served as guest speaker during their commencement ceremony:

“These years of high school are years of discovery and growth, of moving from childhood, where our thoughts are often secondhand, to adulthood, where we have to think for ourselves. I think you and I were lucky in having been able to spend these years in a girls’ school, where we’ve been allowed time to find out who we are; where we have been allowed to write our own story… . You are going to have to fight to keep the right to write your own story.” Head of School Jill Muti did something unique this year for Senior Assembly, the annual tradition when the seniors receive their Ashley Hall scarf. Weaving together the past, present, and future, she read aloud Madeleine’s entire commencement speech. While the senior girls were honored by the commemoration, even the 5


youngest seventh graders were visibly touched by the message and the gift of seeing themselves in the future through Madeleine’s words. WAS, IS, AND WILL BE Weaving together the past and present is a tradition at Ashley Hall. The Big Sister & Little Sister program is an aspect of that weaving— the older girls serve as role models and share their knowledge and experience with future graduates of Ashley Hall, and the younger girls remind the older girls of their younger selves. During our Uniquely Madeleine celebration, the sisters wrote Valentine’s Day cards with quotes from Madeleine and created multidimensional tesseracts. From the Greek τέσσερεις ακτίνες (téssereis aktines, or "four rays"), tesseracts are a way to bridge time and space. In A Wrinkle in Time, characters use tesseracts to instantaneously travel around the universe. Nichole Carey’s Upper School geometry class spearheaded the idea of creating a physical representation of a tesseract from paper straws, which was then shared with younger students.

L’Engle’s granddaughters and authors Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Léna Roy participate in the dedication of The Madeleine Oak.

Big Sisters & Little Sisters tackle the construction of a tesseract.


On another day, faculty member Libby Russler took her ninth grade class outdoors to read A Wrinkle in Time under what is now affectionately referred to as The Madeleine Oak, a majestic tree the author climbed while a student at Ashley Hall and where she loved to read. It is a scene that has happened before, and a scene that will happen again. The School honored Madeleine in March by dedicating The Madeleine Oak in her memory while her granddaughters, authors

Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Léna Roy, were visiting campus. They spoke to multiple grades about Madeleine and their experience writing Becoming Madeleine, a new middle reader biography of their grandmother that includes photographs, journal entries, and drawings from Madeleine’s time at Ashley Hall, which she loved, and which loved her.


We now speak of Madeleine as if we knew her; we even use her first name instead of the more academic method of referring to authors by their last name. The girls do the same. Just like them, Madeleine walked the lawns and climbed the trees. She held picnics, made friends, and worked hard. She daydreamed and laughed and cried. She loved Ashley Hall Ashley Hall families attend the Charleston premiere of A Wrinkle in Time. and was as passionate about its mission as we are. Woven into our ongoing tapestry, she is an enduring part of the Ashley Hall family.

When the new A Wrinkle in Time feature film premiered in March, Ashley Hall students and their families walked down a purple runway at a special private showing held at Cinebarre in Mount Pleasant. Going to the movies as a community meant that Big and Little Sisters met each other’s families, and students shared with their parents what they had learned about the book and Madeleine’s message. We want our students to fight to tell their story when they leave Ashley Hall. We equip them with the vital tools, success, and confidence, regardless of how many years they are with us. Madeleine was only a student for four years and yet exemplified all of the Hallmarks we hold dear. We are keeping her spirit alive through everything we do at Ashley Hall. She was, is, and will be.

Once a perfect moment arrives, it is not gone after it happens; instead, it is absorbed into the ongoing experience of our lives to produce new instances of kairos.” — Lesley Rowland



KAIROS and the Classical Education at Ashley Hall

by Dr. Roscoe Davis, Upper School Classics Faculty On the subject of translation, classics students at Ashley Hall have long learned that some words in some languages have no direct translation into others, and in the case of Greek, students have long learned that the word kairos, “the right moment,” or “the right time,” has no direct equivalent in English. We must use three words to describe what Greek can express with one. All students in Classics I are familiar with the life and times of Dikaiopolis, the struggling dirt farmer and comic character who is the protagonist of our readerfriendly Greek text, Athenaze. All students have read the line where Dikaiopolis is said to be tired from working all day in his field full of rocks, tired from working polyn chronon, “much time,” or “a long time,” as we would more loosely say. Likewise, all students have read the line where Myrrhine, the wife of Dikaiopolis, attempts to get her weary husband out of bed and back to work in that rocky field the next morning. “It’s the right time (kairos) to work,” she says. “Get up, you lazy man!” she adds, eliciting laughter from the girls of Ashley Hall who read this. Yes, it’s easy to discuss the Greek word, chronos, “time,” and English derivatives from it, words such as


chronic and chronicle and chronological, but it’s not as easy to discuss the Greek word, kairos, “the right time,” because there’s no English derivative from it and no English equivalent to it. This is an excellent time—the right time—to discuss a sculptural depiction of the personification of kairos from antiquity which shows a young man with wings on his back and wings on his feet. He seems to be walking gently on a balance beam. In his left hand he holds a razor, and on the edge of this razor rests the yardarm of a set of scales. With his right hand he tilts one side of the scales to his favor. The message from this ancient relief sculpture of kairos is clear: the right time, the perfect moment, we might say, is fleeting. It comes and goes. Recognizing this moment takes some skill. If, however, we do indeed recognize it, and, as a result of this, we say those things we need to say or do those things we need to do—in love and life and our day-to-day business—then we will find some benefit in our words and actions, and from this, perhaps, some meaning. Yes, kairos can benefit us all in many ways, as long as we always remain mindful of our ever-changing selves, our ever-changing relationships, and the ever-changing world around us. That’s a lesson we can derive from this Greek word, kairos, and that’s one of the benefits that girls in the Upper School can derive from their classical educations at Ashley Hall.

She went on to write the celebrated novel A Wrinkle in Time, which won the 1963 Newbery Award for “the most distinguished contribution to children's literature.”

Madeleine attended Ashley Hall as a boarding student from 1933 and 1937. During her time on campus she served as Editor-in-Chief for the School’s literary magazine, Cerberus, contributing numerous poems and short stories.

This spring, Ashley Hall lovingly named the oak tree The Madeleine Oak in her honor.

1934 Cerebus editorial staff

Madeleine returned to Ashley Hall to deliver the commencement speech to the Class of 1982. She shared with the graduates, “I don’t want to lose any part of who I was at Ashley Hall. It’s an essential part of who I am now.”


Walt Disney Pictures adapted the book for a film which was released nationwide in early March.

Senior portrait in yearbook





Madeleine L’E ng l



Madeleine L’Engle Camp Frank, Class of 1937


Audience members enjoy A Music Bridge.

Senior Project at Ashley Hall:

One of Ashley Hall’s signature curricular programs, Senior Project allows students to transform their passions into intellectual pursuits. This year’s roster included an extraordinary effort by Anna Bitter ’18, who showcased the power of music to heal racial tensions through a joyous community concert that won’t soon be forgotten.

The seed for Anna’s Senior Project was planted in June of 2015 outside the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. During their weekly Bible study, nine parishioners had recently been gunned down by a young white supremacist. Charleston, along with the rest of the country, was reeling in disbelief and pain. “After the tragedy, I would sit outside Mother Emanuel, hold hands with strangers, and sing songs. It is powerful showing emotion through song,” says Anna. “I thought to myself, as an artist, what can I do to mend these societal wounds?” The genesis of her Senior Project soon began to take shape.

Since her childhood, senior Anna Bitter has been moved by the transformative power of music. “When I was very young, four years old I think, my grandmother purchased a small piano for me. I was fascinated with it, and as soon as I learned to play simple tunes, I was hooked. Ever since then, music has been an integral part of my life,” says Anna. While at Ashley Hall, her unique soprano vocal range has complimented the repertoire of the School’s renowned Red and Chamber Choirs. It was only natural that music would serve as the catalyst for her Senior Project, A Music Bridge.

To be accepted into Ashley Hall’s Senior Project class, students must undergo a rigorous selection process their junior year and then complete a research paper, a community outreach component, and weekly assignments designed to encourage them to think critically, practice their research skills, and reflect upon and synthesize material. The class culminates with Senior Project Presentation Day in April where participants present their research findings to faculty, staff, and fellow students. Presentation Day provides a forum for each girl to share her passion, and how she transformed


by Paula Edwards Harrell, Director of Communications and Strategic Marketing


that passion into a pursuit of intellectual and meaningful growth. “Senior Project allows students the opportunity to dive deeply into research in ways other courses might not allow the time,” says Director of Student Life Carrie Singh, a Senior Project sponsor. “They gain valuable experience in research, public speaking, critical thinking, and collaboration.” Because students must secure off-campus mentors to buoy their research findings, Anna’s mentors included Pastor Carl Bright, director of the Oh Happy Day Singers, a Charlestonbased professional gospel music ensemble. She also worked closely with Margaret Seidler, Lead Facilitator of the Charleston Illumination Project, a community dialog initiative created in the wake of the Emanuel tragedy to build on the sense of unity Charleston embraced after the shooting. “I was so impressed with Anna and her determination to better understand the complexities of her community,” says Margaret. “Music is indeed a bridge to leverage shared experiences to create a common bond across differences. It makes tremendous sense.” Inspired by Pastor Bright and his ensemble, Anna was determined to make her Senior Project community outreach an experience of connection and healing. “I wanted to do a concert, an event that would provoke emotion and a willingness to go beyond perceptions. Also, I had never conducted before, and I wanted to explore that. It just all came together,” says Anna. With the support of her Ashley Hall community, Anna’s concert became a reality. She partnered with the Oh Happy Day Singers, as well as her Red Choir colleagues, on a powerful and inclusive choral program that featured spirituals and gospel music accompanied by traditional choral repertoire.

In addition to securing the perfect venue, historic Mt. Zion African Methodist Episcopal in downtown Charleston, Anna arranged rehearsals, chose music and arrangements, created publicity materials, organized online ticket sales, and served as producer for an incredibly beautiful and poignant event. Approximately three hundred people were in attendance March 13 for A Music Bridge with ticket sales totaling $5,000 which was then donated to the Clementa C. Pinckney Foundation, named in honor of the minister of Emanuel A.M.E Church who was killed in the shooting. In an hour of pure joy, audience members from all parts of Charleston listened to voices blended in harmony, leaped to their feet at times, and clapped along to the familiar sounds of historic spirituals. Anna spent a full year researching her thesis, which asserted that music can alleviate racial tension. “Music and its ability to act as an agent of change both psychologically and socially may be the key to mitigating modern racist mentalities. Similar to any restorative medication or therapy, music is biologically and physiologically significant,” says Anna. “Studies highlighting this fact are beginning to emerge and are paving the way for future research regarding music and its effect on the brain. Through research and performance, I am assured that music can be used to mend wounds, both physical and ideological.” Through her dedicated research and a keen artistic lens, Anna Bitter crafted a Senior Project that serves as a powerful example of how today’s youth have the will and capability to lead us all forward in understanding and reconciliation, one song at a time. FOR A FULL OVERVIEW OF THE 2017-2018 SENIOR PROJECTS, VISIT WWW.ASHLEYHALL.ORG/SENIORPROJECTS



Students examine the sculptural model.


School-Wide Effort Transforms Plastic Trash into Artistic Conservation by Jennifer Turner, Institutional Writer

Every Ashley Hall girl knows the Hallmarks by heart: compassionate, intelligent, worldly, creative, collaborative, purposeful, and discerning. Encountered by students daily, each unique Hallmark serves as a guidepost along their journey in the Learning Spiral. It is a rare and special occurrence, however, when a project embodying all seven Hallmarks captures the imagination of the entire School. Led by acclaimed New York-based multimedia artist Aurora Robson, who served as Ashley Hall’s artist in residence April 4 through 6, the Aurora Project transformed reclaimed plastic waste into a new art installation hanging from the LoDome in Pardue Hall. The student-driven and collaborative experience involved students across divisions and intersected multiple disciplines, including art, physics, and math. “At Ashley Hall, we are striving to give our students the permission and opportunity to be heard, to


Art with a purpose. Acclaimed artist in residence inspires students of all ages to approach an environmental problem through the lens of sculpture.

experiment, and to explore various academic and creative endeavors,” says Lower School faculty member Tina Hirsig. “Our faculty and students did an excellent job collaborating on this project. It was epic to have so many ages and disciplines working on this conservation effort.” Predominately known for creating art by repurposing plastic waste into beautiful sculptures, Aurora’s mission is to highlight the nation’s plastic waste problem. In the fall of 2017, students and faculty across campus attended her installation at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art and began brainstorming ways to bring Aurora’s inspiration to Ashley Hall. Students in the Lower School sketched and colored design ideas for the hanging sculpture, and Upper School students explored how to work with plastic as a sculptural material and used recycled junk mail from their homes to make a 3D model of the designs.


The sculpture hangs from the LoDome in Pardue Hall.



says junior Pearce Buxton ’19. “I feel special knowing I am part of this.”

In the Madren Pool, students learn the impact of water pollution on animals.

Once Aurora arrived on campus, she worked with students on the creation of a distinct piece of sculpture with seven elements echoing the School’s seven Hallmarks. Intermediate School students took charge of leading the sculpture process and used the 3D model to build pieces for the final sculpture out of recycled plastics brought from their homes. Lower School students pitched in by washing the recycled materials, and many Upper School students helped with the construction process. “I loved working with Aurora and observing how she worked because she makes awesome sculptures,” says sixth grader Ella Thompson ’24. “We learned how to be creative with different materials, and it was a collaborative project everyone had a chance to work on.” Working together and directing the entire operation, girls drilled, cut, and riveted plastic material to transform it into an artistic expression of conservation. Girls tended to gravitate to the work area that most interested them. “I love the detail work and being able to refine the initial design sketch,” says sophomore Bel Shields ’20. While every strand of the sculpture offered something different, the goal was a cohesive whole. “I really like the design, the process, and the mode of presentation,”


As the girls were finishing the sculpture, parents had the opportunity to see the installation process during an open house in Pardue Hall. The School’s swim program hosted its own site-specific work by setting adrift clean, recycled bottles in the pool, where young swimmers dodged the bottles to raise awareness of the impact of water pollution on aquatic animals. Addressing students, faculty, and parents across divisions, Aurora detailed her work intercepting the plastic waste stream in the environment and reinventing the material into sculpture. “I love the idea of the artwork empowering young girls and giving them skills for creative problem solving,” says Aurora. In highlighting each unique Hallmark, the LoDome’s new art installation celebrates each girl’s unique contribution and the power of PQV. A special thank you to the Aurora Project planning committee, who spent many weeks, days, and hours pulling the project together: Tina Hirsig, Elizabeth Flowers, Beth McCarty, Erin Libaire, and Lillian Apple.

Artist Aurora Robson works with girls on adding non-toxic color to the sculptural pieces.

GOING SOCIAL Keep upto-date on all things Ashley Hall by following along on social media. Be sure to use the hashtag

#1 Thanks to Architectural Digest  for naming  Ashley Hall  South Carolina’s Most Beautiful Private High School! #uniquelyashleyhall#girlswiththewill 

#2 Our Lower School students headed out to the Ashley Hall Sports Complex in Johns Island to participate in our annual field day. What a huge success it was! PQV to our parents who volunteered with relays and provided lunch. #uniquelyashleyhall

#3 The best way to begin the day for our friends in primary class? Being serenaded by Head of School Jill Muti. The kids loved hearing Peter and the Wolf told through music. #uniquelyashleyhall #musicalstorytelling

#4 G-R-A-T-I-T-U-D-E for our student athletes and all they accomplish throughout each season. At Ashley Hall, our girls dedicate themselves to competing at a high level and all that comes with it. This takes a lot of hard work. So here’s to all the girls that wear Purple and White proudly whether at practice or a game, GO PANTHERS! #GRATITUDE #uniquelyashleyhall #gopanthers

#girlswiththewill! 15



While embracing the rich traditions of Ashley Hall, we envision a campus that boldly meets the needs of the twenty-first century student. Five distinct projects are underway, or scheduled, that will support the School’s unyielding focus on the programmatic experience and enhance our thriving campus in the heart of historic Charleston.


Opening: August 2018

Offers: Admissions Welcome Center; additional learning space dedicated to the humanities and languages. The Need: Improve student recruitment with a full-service admissions suite featuring light-filled testing areas and a hospitable conference room; two traditional Harkness learning studios and two learning spaces that provide a more flexible innovative environment for twenty-first century learning; and a living laboratory with a full-service kitchen to enrich programming throughout campus. Student Impact: Prospective families (all school); grades nine through twelve (Upper School)


Opening: August 2018

Offers: Final touches to the recently renovated Pardue Hall include installation of flooring, acoustical enhancements, and the addition of furniture that increases the functionality of this spectacular collaborative space. The Need: Through direct faculty input, the final stages of this renovation will address our commitment to every student and instructor by fully equipping this space and setting the stage for an extraordinary learning environment. Student Impact: Pre-primary through fourth grade (Early Education, Lower School) 16


Opening: August 2019

Offers: Five large fully appointed classroom spaces and an additional 1,000 square feet dedicated to a state-of-the-art science and math innovation laboratory. The Need: Larger and improved classroom space for Intermediate Program students. Student Impact: Grades five and six (Intermediate Program)


Opening: August 2019

Offers: 6,000 square feet of repurposed space which supports an already robust program tailored to each Ashley Hall Upper School student, from wellness programming to college counseling. The Need: Enhanced personal counseling and dedicated college preparation. Student Impact: Grades seven through twelve (Upper School)


Opening: August 2020

Offers: Expand the number of science laboratories with the addition of two new state-of-art laboratories on the third floor of Jenkins Hall; renovate current space on the first floor. The Need: Critical science programming and space enhancements. Student Impact: Grades seven through twelve (Upper School) FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT GIVING, PLEASE CONTACT: Suzie Smith, Director of Institutional Advancement | (843) 720-2886 | 17


Making a Difference at ASHLEY HALL

Every gift to the Loyalty Fund makes a difference. It all adds up to a better Ashley Hall, and we can’t do it without you!

THE LOYALTY FUND …As consistent as the annual Christmas Play. …As reliable as the as guidance from a Big Sister to a Little Sister. ...As tenacious as the Purple vs. White competitions.

GIVE BECAUSE …you love Ashley Hall. …you want your daughter to receive the best education. …someone gave to help you. …you want to ensure future girls thrive at Ashley Hall. Make a difference today. Support the Ashley Hall Loyalty Fund. Visit

Maclane Applegate ’26 and Britton Zollweg ’26


2018 Ashley Hall Alumnae Weekend in Review


With perfect weather and more than 400 alumnae attending events throughout the weekend, the 2018 Ashley Hall Alumnae Weekend was one for the record books. Generations of graduates returned to campus to see old friends, explore their school, and reminisce about their special time as Ashley Hall girls. For the full photo gallery from the weekend, please visit

The Purple and White Party and Auction was a wonderful success featuring almost 100 exciting items available for online bidding. Chaired by Nancy J. Muller ’71, this year’s auction raised over $21,000 in support of the Alumnae Association Scholarship Fund.

The Class of 1968 was welcomed into the Jubilee Society, joining a group of exceptional women who graduated 50 years ago or more from Ashley Hall.

Dolly Lockwood Lipman ’82 presents the trophy to the Purples, this year’s winner of the Purple vs. White Competition. Congratulations also to the Class of 1953 who gave the most to the Loyalty Fund and to the Class of 1963, who had the highest participation with 37 percent of their class donating to the School’s annual fund.

The 2018 Ashley Hall Distinguished Alumnae Award Winners: (from left to right) Dewar Gordon Holmes ’26 Distinguished Alumna Award: Elizabeth Rivers Lewine ’54 Martha Rivers Ingram ’53 Excellence in the Arts Award: Barbara Street Hagerty ’68 Crandall Close Bowles ’65 Professional Achievement Award: Paige Canaday Crone ’83 Fern Karesh Hurst ’64 Community Volunteer Award: Missee Tuttle Fox ’73

SAVE THE DATE! 2019 Ashley Hall Alumnae Weekend | April 12 & 13, 2019 19

by Jill Harper, Upper School Humanities Faculty Member






Located twelve miles from Ashley Hall’s downtown campus, the Nature Retreat creates a magical learning habitat that fosters children’s inner curiosity and creativity, while building a powerful connection to the natural world. “The child at play, totally thrown outside theirself in the game, be it building a sandcastle or making a daisy chain, is in kairos.” – Madeleine L’Engle Sitting under the expanse of a live oak, a small but rhapsodic group of Early Education Center (EEC) students begin their day with a lesson on critters from teacher Dana Molony. With squeals and giggles, the students scrutinize images of nature’s creepy-crawlies and ask questions about what they might find during their journey along the trails of the Ashley Hall Nature Retreat. Dana Molony and Wendy Robbins, both Ashley Hall EEC faculty members, began their own journey in October to create an environment where “the walls are removed, scheduling is removed,” and children can disconnect, unplug, and abide in an alternate world outside the school’s urban campus. For Dana, the nature retreat culminates three years of professional development that includes traveling to schools around the country and even to Reggio Emilia, Italy where she attended a week-long international conference. “After reading Last Child in the Woods last summer in conjunction with our building-wide exploration focus on nature, it was the perfect combination that led to Wendy and myself venturing in her Wagoneer to our Johns Island property one warm October afternoon. The moment our eyes met the perfect climbing tree, we knew this was the beginning of something beautiful.” Fifty years ago, the notion that children need to go outside and



play was by no means revolutionary. However, for a generation that is spending increasingly more time engaging with screens and less with their own imaginative faculties, the act of intentionally disconnecting is becoming a novelty— and a necessity. Inspired by the Outdoor Pre-Primary School at the Laurel School, a nationally recognized independent girls’ school in Northeast Ohio, and sporting their customary overalls and trucker hats, Dana and Wendy spent the early fall carefully forging trails through the woods behind Ashley Hall’s sports complex on Johns Island. With a spirit of adventure, they created a second campus where EEC and Lower School students can regularly engage in outdoor programs. Under the mentorship of Laurel School faculty member Audrey Elszasz, Dana and Wendy coupled the best teaching practices of Reggio Emilia with the awe and wonder that creation and creativity so naturally inspire. When asked how the Nature Retreat enhances other elements of the School’s curriculum, Wendy confidently replied, “A good Reggio teacher must be well-versed in all of the standards so that they can identify when it is happening in context of every environment.”

Seeing an “X” made by two fallen logs, or sticks that resemble a “Y,” can easily spark a phonics lesson. These types of connections are a good reminder that learning takes place in every moment that the mind and senses are engaged. Unquestionably, Ashley Hall’s Nature Retreat lives up to its name: it provides a time and space where students can retreat, rest under the oak, and revel in the sights, sounds, and smells of the woods. Each day’s journey provides an introduction to scientific thought and creative expression. Students are invited to roam, encounter, and enjoy. Moments of wonder and curiosity are given a voice as students verbalize their observations: a tree covered in bracket fungus is “a peacock tree,” and a hollow log echoes when stuck by sticks because “there are coconuts in there!” Even three year olds learn to hypothesize: the spider web sparkles because it has water on it, and the water came from the morning rain. The veins that run through a fallen leaf are “leaf bones.”

In this environment, creativity spontaneously overflows from the joy of discovery and gives way to imaginative play. One student turns a tree stump into a home for a family of pinecones while others search for trolls who live under Early Education Center faculty member the bridge. Another Dana Molony surrounded by student counts flower Nature Retreat explorers. petals on the ground— twenty-three petals to be exact— and gathers them as a gift for a classmate. One four year old began to sing while on the retreat. When the student returned to campus, Wendy brought her into the music studio where they recorded the lyrics and put them to music. 22

Their collaboration has inspired two songs that the girl’s classmates will learn and perform at the end-of-the-year program. Moreover, students learn the importance of preserving and respecting the environment. Though the faculty is permissive when it comes to exploration, they are purposeful when inscribing a love and reverence for nature. An earthworm is returned to the dirt with the reminder that “we don’t want to take him out of his home,” or a spider web is regarded but not touched because “a spider created it.” Trash, however, is collected and removed because “it does not live here.” According to Wendy, “they must first learn to love the environment before we can ask them to sacrifice time and convenience to take care of it.” That reverence is synthesized as the class returns to the oak tree where they pause to reflect and sing the School’s blessing before lunch: “ Dear Lord we thank Thee for Thy care … .” It is a reminder to be grateful and reverent for the gift of one another, the natural world, and a school whose faculty members believe in its mission and engender a love for learning.

NATURE RETREAT REFLECTIONS "I want to be a scientist when I grow up. I like finding stuff and studying." Primary student pausing to reflect as he rested on a log.

The Nature Retreat perfectly exemplifies the concept of kairos: it is both timely and timeless. The interaction between child and nature is unique to the moment of their encounter: the weather, the stage of a fallen leaf’s decomposition, the happenstance of a snail crossing the path, or rainwater that has pooled in the hollow of a fallen tree to create a perfect reflection of smiling faces. At the same time, Ashley Hall’s young transcendentalists derive the same inspiration from nature’s sublimity as the poets, scientists, and artists of the past. They are stepping into a life-altering relationship, one rain boot at a time.

"Look. It's coming out of its den." Primary student observing a snail coming out of its shell. "Don't be scared, little snail. You can go back to your family." Primary students showing reverence for creatures in the woods. "Are those the bones?" PreK student observing the veins of a dried leaf.



wanted more and set as her goal the creation of an artistic publication, similar to the School’s original Cerberus literary magazine, that showcased the writing of her classmates and honored Ashley Hall’s literary heritage.


Casey Aylward ’09 With a dedicated literary magazine beginning in the School’s nascent years, Ashley Hall has fostered a legacy of supporting emerging writers, including Madeleine L’Engle. Casey Aylward ’09 was determined to redefine that legacy, and in the process, discovered a spark that would ignite a career exploring new writing boundaries.

When she joined Ashley Hall in her junior year, transferring from the larger Phillips Andover Academy in New Hampshire, Casey found the smaller, all-girls environment to be the perfect fit to foster her love of learning. “There was so much talent in the classroom,” she recalls of her former classmates and teachers. Determined to make her own contribution, Casey set her sights on restoring Ashley Hall’s literary magazine to its former glory. The Acanthus was launched in 2007, primarily as a general interest student news magazine. As Editor-in-Chief, Casey


Casey spent hours in the computer lab teaching herself how to use Adobe InDesign to personally manage the redesign. The first volume was small, with only about a dozen pages, but by Casey’s senior year, the bound publication had expanded to nearly fifty pages. A classmate illustrated the cover artwork, and her peers’ short stories, poems, and photographs filled the inside pages. The redesign of The Acanthus was a team effort, and Casey in particular credits her English teacher, Jane Pelland, for helping to launch the publication. “Casey’s innovative mindset gave her a true sense of vision,” says Pelland. “Her dedication, perseverance, and leadership inspired and motivated The Acanthus staff to accomplish a noble endeavor.” Graduating from Ashley Hall in 2009 and inspired by the School’s emphasis on the humanities, Casey chose to attend Dartmouth College. “I knew that I wanted a liberal arts education. I took six classes in a variety of subjects my senior year at Ashley Hall because I didn’t know what I wanted to study. I just knew that I loved the process of learning.” Casey’s experience with The Acanthus helped to earn her a spot as a staff writer for The Dartmouth, America’s oldest college newspaper, where she honed her skills as a researcher and reporter. While majoring in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, she moved from writer to senior directorate editor of The Mirror, the most widely-read features section of the paper. Unsure about her career path after graduation, but a believer in following her intuition, Casey utilized the Dartmouth network and landed an interview with URX, a startup company in San Francisco. “In 2013 San Francisco was the place to be. There were so many startups run by twentysomethings that it was a place where a young person was taken seriously,” she says. “I didn’t know anything about technology at the time, but I loved the team at URX and knew in my gut that it was the right place.”

The same philosophy of embracing change and seeing opportunities instead of barriers that had served Casey well at Ashley Hall, was once again her guide. Casey began working for the URX sales team, but found herself drawn to writing code. Wanting to be bold like the founders of the company, she started taking coding classes online in the evenings and tried to expose herself to as many learning opportunities as she could. One of the founders of URX saw a spark in her, the same spark that inspired her to revamp The Acanthus, and offered to help her if she was willing to do the work. “He met with me at work every day at 8:00am, which in Silicon Valley is like meeting at 6:00am,” she jokes. “He was instrumental in my growth.” As Casey’s mentor, he advocated for her and even gave her homework. Before long, Casey had earned a position in the engineering department, where she was the only woman. Two years after Casey was hired, lightening struck— URX was acquired by Pinterest. URX had been a small, emerging company with about 30 employees who spent a lot of time building content from scratch and constantly iterating product to make their early customers happy. In comparison, Pinterest was an established company with 800 employees and 175 million active “pinners.” Working as a software engineer, Casey had the opportunity to spend much of her time building new product features. Because Pinterest is very user-centric, its engineers think more holistically about the product experience as part of their job. “We have a lot of input into what product features are built or how they are designed,” she says. “For example, the team I was on last year built a product called ‘Shop the Look,’ which helps enable commerce on Pinterest by tagging products in images. There are different business considerations that arise, but for the most part we have a lot of freedom when building these features. This type of product ownership is really unique and truly driven by the engineers and team members.” This spring, Casey is excited to start a new opportunity with Costanoa Ventures, a firm that

invests in small tech companies. “As someone who has worked at a very small startup and also built new products as an engineer, I think I have a unique empathy and connection to founders,” she says. “In general, I highly value continuous learning—anything I do will index heavily on this. In engineering, things change so quickly, so you have to constantly learn new frameworks or solve new problems. In venture, you have to remain on the steep edge of the learning curve. You are constantly meeting with founders and learning about new companies and industries. You have to have enough depth and knowledge to be credible and have a differentiated insight.” Having constantly pushed the boundaries of her career and redefined her love of writing, Casey’s advice to the next generation of young, female engineers is to find a good mentor. “Don’t be afraid to ask, because the worst thing that can happen is someone says no,” she says. From creative writing to writing code, it is the ability to see the opportunities, and not the barriers, that makes the difference.

Ashley Hall has given us the ability to learn and the self-confidence that comes with academic challenge. It is truly fortunate then that we have been given a thorough preparation in every sense and have an awareness of what true achievement means.” — Excerpted from Casey Alyward’s commencement speech in 2009 as First Honor Graduate




Congratulations to the Class of 2018. We know you’re ready to serve and shape the world around you. PQV to all!



in merit scholarships garnered cumulatively by the class.


SENIORS excelled in all aspects of school and community life.

Class of 2018, in less than three months, we will embark



42 20

you all to always be curious and let curiosity lead your adventures. Never be afraid, because if you succeed you can rejoice in happiness, and if you fail, congratulations, you have

DIFFERENT SCHOOLS in STATES, including the District of Columbia and Wales in the United Kingdom, are lucky enough to have enrolled one or more of our students for next year.


learned something completely new and you have made your

were a member of a performing arts group or class.

world bigger.” —First Honor Graduate Lixue Chen



traveled internationally on school trips.


journey and I want to challenge

of the class participated on an athletic team.

111 COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES extended acceptances to class members.

on a wonderful and unknown


were members of campus organizations.

Remembering Two

ASHLEY HALL GREATS: Barbara Pierce Bush ’43 and Daisy Barron Leland

BARBARA PIERCE BUSH ’43 The Ashley Hall community joined those from around the world saddened by the passing of one of its most esteemed and beloved alumnae, former First Lady Barbara Pierce Bush, Class of 1943. We treasure the memories of Mrs. Bush’s visits to campus, most recently in February 2016 when our students had the pleasure of escorting her through the Elizabeth Rivers Lewine ’54 House for Global Studies, home of Ashley Hall’s international studies program. We especially relished hearing about her own Ashley Hall adventures, told with her signature warmth and wit. Mrs. Bush will forever hold a special place in the history and ethos of our School, and we take much pride in the fact that she was an Ashley Hall graduate. Through her character, resilience, and integrity, Barbara Bush will always be an inspiration to us all.

DAISY BARRON LELAND, “MISS DAISY” The love and care Daisy Leland gave our students at Ashley Hall was beautiful to behold. “Miss Daisy,” as the girls endearingly called her, had an illustrious 22-year career at Ashley Hall, including serving as Head of the Middle School from 1974 to 1992. Throughout her tenure, she received many accolades and recognitions including the Rosemary Nelson Hutto Award in 1988 for Excellence in Teaching. In 1995, the School honored Mrs. Leland with the naming of the Daisy Barron Leland Award for Teaching Excellence in Mathematics and Technology. Her presence is still felt on campus through Miss Daisy’s Garden, named in her honor outside the Keith Humanities House, as well as numerous trees planted for her in front of Lane Hall. We stand on the strength of her shoulders and honor her work and tireless dedication to our students. “Miss Daisy’s” legacy certainly lives through each and every one of them.





During this year’s spring Book Festival, Lower School students participated in a poster project where they were asked to draw what they thought was “Uniquely Ashley Hall.” We love second grader Amelia Finnegan’s clever approach to the project. PQV!

Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Charleston, SC Permit No. 1309

172 Rutledge Avenue Charleston, SC 29403

Front and back covers: Inspired by A Wrinkle in Time, students used paper straws to create colorful representations of multi-dimensional tesseracts.


Perspectives 2018  
Perspectives 2018