Three years ago, going on four this coming spring, I graduated from my beloved Alma Mater. I attended this private all-girls catholic college preparatory high school for four years where I met my life-long best friends, ate one too many sugar cookies, learned about my absolute love for writing, met my first of many mentors, and made countless memories that I will surely cherish forever.
The school? The Academy of Our Lady of Mercy, Lauralton Hall.
Lauralton was not just any ordinary high school. Let’s break down its description as a private all-girls catholic college preparatory high school. I’ll start with private.
There was always something about driving through the large black cast-iron gates in the morning and racing down the long smooth driveway to get into homeroom on time just to have the security guard wave down your car to ensure you were a Lauralton girl. I mean, think about it, what high school has cast-iron gates surrounding its territory, a driveway lined with beautiful foliage and old-fashioned light poles, and a security guard who literally will stand in front of your car until your license plate is verified? Although Sam the security guard could have been a nuisance from time to time, the scenery on campus and the feeling of pulling through gates every morning made it special from the very beginning. Not many high schools could you say your english class takes place in a mansion and in your math class you sit in front of beautiful fireplace. Now I have absolutely nothing against a public school education but sometimes when your public schools do not offer the best education in the state, attending a private school is an awesome idea. Thankfully I have parents who are firm believers in education for women and were willing to take the financial risk of paying for their daughters to attend a private school. In fact, I’m so thankful that I am actually bold enough to also say without my Lauralton education, I would not be at Bryant University succeeding the way I am. Plus, come on, private schools are prettier :)
Now onto the all-girls aspect. Malala couldn’t say it better when she says people are afraid of educating women because educated women are super powerful. Many people ask me, “so like you didn’t ever know any boys?” and I just laugh. Yeah, I did know boys. But, they weren’t my focus like so many other girl’s focus is during high school. I actually really cared about my grades, my dancing career, and focusing on choosing the right college. Not having guys in my class, I was more engaged. I wasn’t staring at the curly-haired cutie who just got his braces off. I was staring at my notes trying to figure out how statistics could be applied in real-life. Having all girls also allowed me to literally have so much fun. Every girl loves a girl’s night. Picture that daily. Some of you may think, “TORTURE” but trust me, it was so much fun.
Lauralton Hall was also a Sisters of Mercy Catholic school. Having just lost the beautiful, inspirational, and loving Sister Janice, you realize the sense of community that is instilled in a small (around 400 students) catholic school. I was always brought up with my grandmother dragging my sister and I to church every single Sunday. It never meant anything to me though. High school instilled a sense of faith, love, and hope in me. Without sounding too cliche, I truly became a better Samaritan through my education at Lauralton. I may not be able to speak a single word of Spanish but I could recall the Our Father in Spanish on command if I have to.
Like I said, I wouldn’t be so successful at Bryant if it wasn’t for the college-preparatory-“ness” of Lauralton. During my freshmen year at college, I remember my friends saying they have never written a research paper…we had a few due that year in different courses. They had to spend a lot of time with the writing consultants and the research librarians to figure out how to write it. Me? I was a whiz. I had already written like seven research papers during high school. Another thing you will learn at Lauralton which is so valuable is time management. Lauralton is extremely demanding in its academics and extra-curricular activities. I managed getting about a 90 GPA (yes, it is on a scale of 100), dancing several days a week for hours on end, and staying involved with clubs and organizations at Lauralton. Without being so involved and attending such an academic-heavy institution, I would not be able to handle all I do at Bryant and I may not have even been motivated to do so much! Lauralton definitely prepares you for college. There’s a solid reason why Lauralton always scores higher than the national and state average by a mile on SAT testing and why 100% of graduates are accepted to the country’s top 4-year colleges.
If you couldn’t tell, I’m extremely proud to call Lauralton my Alma Mater. I miss it incredibly and am thankful for it almost each and every day.