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October 07, 2018

A day in the life of an all-girls high school graduate

Education Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School

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Limited - GMHS Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School/for PhillyVoice

One of the best parts of college is meeting new people and learning about the different backgrounds they come from, hoping to find some commonalities. These simple commonalities turn into bigger similarities, which grow into some of the best friendships. What state a person is from, how many siblings they have, whether or not they have a pet, etc., are all questions that arise in conversation. Sometimes even, “What high school did you go to?”

As a rising college junior and graduate from Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School, an all-girls Catholic high school, I can honestly say my answer to that specific question is still one of the hardest for people to understand.

Before I go any further, I want to answer some of the questions I get every time I tell someone my high school was only for girls:

  1. No, not every girl in my grade wanted to become a nun or came from families who wanted them to be nuns. Although, the nuns I did have as teachers will forever be my favorites.
  2. Yes, we know what boys are. If you can believe it, we also know how to talk to them! Truly, there was not a lot of unnecessary drama either. If I had a dollar for every time someone asked, "How did you survive going to an all-girls high school?” or made a comment about anything I addressed previously, I'd be rich.
  3. My decision to attend Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School was no survival quest, but rather a quest that completely shaped me into the confident, independent, strong woman I am today.

To sum up my experience, going to and all-girls school meant waking up 15 minutes before you had to be out the door, never brushing your hair, screaming the Alma Mater just because, having a tradition for everything, and on every Friday afternoon having your religion teacher send you off for the weekend with a reminder to, “Be safe, be sound, be sober, and be chaste.”

At Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School, I felt comfortable. I was able to be me with no judgment from anyone else. I could say what I thought in class with no regard to whether or not a boy thought what I was saying was weird. Having about 90 girls per grade wasn't abnormally small in my mind and wearing plaid skirts with a polo and penny loafers every day was the norm. I had great relationships with all of my teachers because of the class size, and that relationship allowed me to progress academically in a way that would ensure my success in college.

My graduation consisted of 86 girls standing side by side with a bond like no other. We wore long white gowns with long white gloves accompanied by a set of a dozen red roses. Every step was perfectly choreographed.

Even though I spent four years wandering the two-sided, one floor high school, it wasn’t until graduation that I completely understood the values instilled upon me in the last 1,460 days. These values opened a door to a world of opportunities to not only benefit myself, but also others through the community of service. Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School motivates girls to make a difference in the world. We create our own strong moral compass that sets our goals high and gives us the confidence in our own abilities to not only assist ourselves in succeeding, but also to help others succeed as well.

One of the biggest takeaways from Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School, which completely encompasses my experience, is a quote from our foundress when she said, “I have great confidence in you to do what you think best. State your opinion and always act with courage.”

Attending an all-girls Catholic high school was one of the best decisions I ever made. I developed a life-long sisterhood with a group of girls who will be my future bridesmaids. To me it is the norm, and it’s the norm for a lot of girls who had the same experience as me. Looking back, I would do it all over again.