Meet Lainey Helmers '18

Lainey Helmers ’18
Currently Attending: 
New York University
Years at Shipley: 14
Activities & Positions Held: Fall Plays, Winter Musical, Spring Shakespeare, Positive Paws, Environmental Club, Shipley Singers, Glee Club

How Shipley Shaped Me
Shipley has made an amazing impact on me over the past fourteen years. Shipley allows students to discover what they are passionate about, whether it is academic, artistic, or athletic, and find ways to apply those passions. This year, I took Ms. Greenberg’s interdisciplinary Film Studies course. The course was unlike any I had taken before. Rather than analyzing books and learning literary terms, we analyzed a range of films, from Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane to Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, and learned film terms. Often, we would watch a film and read a book or play concurrently. This course combined two of my passions, literature, and film, which made it a class I looked forward to each day. Film Studies brought new challenges; I had to learn how to write a microanalysis (a detailed analysis of a film scene) and watch movies with a closer eye than ever before, but I was excited to take each one on.

Thanks to Shipley, I no longer feel scared by a challenge, but rather motivated by one. In eighth grade, my history teacher, Mr. Schumacher, allowed me and a few other students to do an independent study for a part of the year. He gave us total freedom to do a research project on whatever part of history we wanted. This was terrifying for me as an eighth grader as no teacher had ever given me this little instruction on what to do. I ended up doing a project on propaganda from different nations during World War II. Rather than write a research paper, I decided to make a video in which I interviewed other students. This independent study was such a wonderful opportunity to use creativity with historical research. I had to learn a lot about how to manage my time. Looking back, there are definitely certain aspects I wish I had executed differently, but overall, it was a great learning experience, especially as I was going to be entering high school the next year.

Who was your most influential teacher and why?
Mrs. Pickering was absolutely the most influential teacher I had at Shipley. I took Modern European History Honors with her as well as two Honors English classes during my time at Shipley and each course challenged me in new ways. Mrs. Pickering’s English classes were especially impactful. I have always loved literature, but Mrs. Pickering taught me why I love literature. The stimulating class discussions that she led encouraged me to find my own voice in the classroom and speak with purpose. Furthermore, her assigned essays always made me look deeper into the text, showing me how much meaning a novel, poem, or play can have.

Most Memorable Experience
The most memorable experiences I’ve had at Shipley were being a part of the Shipley Theater Department productions. This past year’s production of Hairspray will stay with me for a long time. It was the biggest cast I have ever been a part of at Shipley and I learned so much about being a part of a team and collaborating with others. It was an intense rehearsal process with many rehearsals each week. We faced many challenges and setbacks, so all of the students came together to rehearse even more at each other’s houses. We all wanted it to be an amazing production, and because of our hard work, it was.

Plans for Fall 2018
This fall, I will be attending New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts to pursue a B.F.A. in Drama.

What is your future ambition?
My future ambition is to act and do theater in whatever ways I can. Like I mentioned earlier, the Shipley Theater Department led me to this ambition by allowing me to explore theater in so many ways.

What does “Courage for the Deed; Grace for the Doing” mean to you?
To me, “Courage for the Deed; Grace for the Doing” means taking risks and doing so in a way that leaves a positive impact on those around you.

Complete this sentence: Shipley has prepared me...
to face challenges with an open mind and an eagerness to learn.


The Shipley School is a private, coeducational day school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. Through our commitment to educational excellence, we develop within each student a love of learning and a desire for compassionate participation in the world.