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Then & Now: 50 Years of Student Leaders Reflect on the Shipley They Know and Love

The Shipley of 1967, 1992, and 2016 may seem like completely different places. The spectrum of time spans fifty years and includes advancements in technology, medicine, and politics… and of course, education.

To show how Shipley has changed, and how it’s stayed the same, we asked the same seven questions to the Senior Class and All School Presidents today, from 25 years ago, and from 50 years ago. Our senior leadership includes:

Katie Balun ’17, All School President
Caroline DiNome ’17, Senior Class President
Simon Krinsky ’92, All School President
Meredith Pepper Taylor ’92, Senior Class President
Jacqueline (Jackie) Johnson ’67, All School President
Katherine (Katie) Cheyney Creighton ’67, Senior Class President

Q: What three words would you use to describe Shipley?
 
Balun '17: Challenging, Unique, Accepting
 
Krinsky '92: Developing Whole People
 
Taylor '92: I’m not sure that I can sum Shipley up in three words. I spent 13 years growing up there. It was most of my childhood and really played a huge role in shaping the person I am today.
 
Creighton '67: Supportive, Challenging, "Poised for the Future"

Johnson '67: Scholarship, Integrity, Kindness
 
Q: What are/were the key issues affecting students during your time as a student leader?
 
DiNome '17: I think that the dress code has always been a very controversial topic. This year, we are also working hard to increase school pride and get as many students to volunteer for all of the school events. Keeping a balance between support for the arts and sports events is always difficult. Planning assemblies and making sure everyone stays entertained, while still relaying all of the necessary information, is also one of our biggest challenges.

Krinsky '92: It was an exciting time in politics - some good and some bad - and we students felt a real coming of age in a time of change: 1) Gulf War - the first real-time televised war. 2) It seemed to me that students were finally focusing on the tragedy of Apartheid (I was born in South Africa so this was particularly relevant to me). 3) Lots of positive momentum around the fall of the Soviet Union and Yeltsin's election.... and the rising momentum of Bill Clinton in the run-up to the '92 election.

Creighton '67: Since Shipley was a boarding school way back then (for grades 9 - 12), one of the issues was relations between "day students" and "boarders." Since the two groups had such different experiences, schedules, and friendships, we were always conscious of ways to incorporate them into each other's lives. Despite the significant difference in living arrangements, I think all students felt they shared the same Shipley values and education, which is ultimately what attending Shipley was all about.
 
Q: What was your favorite Shipley moment?

DiNome '17: One of my favorite Shipley moments was when the girls’ varsity softball team beat Friends' Central last spring. FCS is Shipley’s main rival in every sport and always has a good team. During the game, every Shipley player contributed in a positive way, and we really came together and pulled out a victory.
 
Krinsky '92: I only arrived for my junior year - as a barely formed teenager - and I realized about a week into the year that I would get way more out of this place than I would ever give: a best friend, a truly liberal education (as in liberal arts), and the opportunity to lead. I actually think I thanked my parents.
 
Taylor '92: One of my proudest moments was receiving the Class of 1944 bowl for citizenship. This was a huge honor having spent my entire K-12 education at Shipley.
 
Creighton '67: When I was at Shipley, the seniors traditionally had "beanies" (hats) that were made in the colors of the senior class. Although not actually worn much, they were considered badges of honor and status. At the end of the year, each senior would bequeath her beanie to a student in a lower class. I was thrilled to receive mine from a senior I did not know all that well, but whom I had admired greatly.
 
Q: What was the most intimidating moment in your Shipley experience?
 
Balun '17: When I had to recite Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech in front of the entire school at an all school assembly in 3rd grade.
 
Krinsky '92: Taking the reins as President of the School from Koma Gandy ’91, a natural leader and a brilliant student.
 
Creighton '67: As Class President, part of my responsibility was to present the class gift to the school at graduation, accompanied by a short speech. I thought I was prepared, but when it came time to go on stage to speak, I felt quite intimidated, standing next to our guest speaker, Dwight Eisenhower!
 
Q: What does Shipley’s motto, Courage for the Deed; Grace for the Doing mean to you?
 
Balun '17: Courage for the Deed is all about having the strength to accomplish whatever task you set your mind to. Grace for the Doing is the way you carry yourself while you tackle that task. It means to put love and positivity into whatever you do, to go through life having the best intentions.
 
DiNome '17: The first part of Shipley’s motto reminds all students that sometimes it takes courage and confidence to do what you think is right, but that everyone is capable of doing so. The second part of the motto alludes to the way in which students have been taught to stand up for those beliefs. It is okay to disagree with others, but you should do so in a respectful way.
 
Krinsky '92: It's the best motto ever, and I try to apply it often. Courage for the Deed, in a first-world day-to-day kind of way, manifests in conviction, a willingness to take risks and the confidence to try again when coming up short... all driven by a strong moral compass. Grace for the Doing is a reminder of the virtues of compassion, empathy and kindness. The combination - courage and grace - can be powerful and effective in leadership positions later in life - and quite useful as a parent, too.
 
Creighton '67: "Courage for the Deed, Grace for the Doing" brings to mind the life and principles of Margaret Bailey Speer, who was Headmistress when I entered Shipley in the fall of 1964. Her integrity, can-do spirit, selflessness, drive to help others and make a difference in the world, all without need for recognition, were the cornerstones of a Shipley education. The motto continues to be crystal clear. Whenever I recall it, I feel stronger and more centered.

Johnson '67: I attended before Shipley was coed. It was the first time I was in an all-girls environment and I was especially impressed by the motto as reinforcement that valor and honor were worthy aspirations for girls and women.
 
Q: Who was your most influential teacher and why?
 
Balun '17: My most influential teacher is Ozzie Jones. Since being in his theater class in middle school, I’ve had the opportunity of working on more than three productions with him in Philadelphia. He has opened my eyes to a whole new world of theater and artistry. He’s supported me since day one and pushes me to work hard towards what I want to do, which is film.
 
Krinsky '92: Jamie Neilson - he took the time and effort to teach me how to write. And it took a lot of time and a lot of effort. A whole lot.
 
Taylor '92: Chris Wagner (my studio art teacher for many years) was a huge influence in my high school years at Shipley. She was tough, but she was inspirational. She motivated me to produce my best work, and she was honest when I didn’t. I am still proud of the pieces I created in that art room 25 years ago. Ms. Wags (as we called her) encouraged us to be disciplined, to take criticism and suggestion, to trust our own eye, and to look at things from many perspectives. These are skills that have served me well in my post-Shipley life.
 
Creighton '67: First - Mr. Bailey. Music teacher for only a couple of years, I think. He was demanding, enlightening, and passionate about music. What had previously been a lightweight "extracurricular" in my mind, became a whole new subject, intertwined with history, philosophy, mathematics, and much more. He whipped the Shipley choir into shape so that we took ourselves seriously, and really understood the music we were performing. He was a model teacher, in that he embraced his subject and wanted us to do the same. Second - Miss Ackler, Head of the Mathematics Department Math teacher. She also was passionate about her subject, demanding of her students, and wanting to share her enthusiasm. The coolest thing was that she was a woman in a traditionally man's world, and math was my favorite subject, so she was a great role model.

Johnson '67: My English teacher, Miss Katharine Read, brought so much excitement, insight, and even reverence to teaching literature. She encouraged my interest in writing and at graduation she gave me a book that had been given to her by a friend in 1928: a 1925 edition of The Oxford Book of English Verse 1250-1900. I continue to cherish it and the memory of her.
 
Q: What piece of advice would you offer a student who wants to be a student leader at Shipley?
 
Balun '17: The more things you can do to brighten someone’s day, the better. One year, someone set up a hot chocolate stand the week before exams. There was someone else who created recap videos after every soccer game and showed them at assemblies. Another student wrote anonymous kind messages to everyone in our grade on Valentine’s Day. I’d also like to point out that not all of these people were on student government! If you want to be a student leader, the possibilities for you to make a difference are endless.
 
Krinsky '92: Don't emulate what you see on TV and make good campaign posters.
 
Taylor '92: Follow your heart and be a good friend and student. Your significance as a leader comes from being a great role model.
 
Creighton '67: In all my years since Shipley, I have noticed that in public and private life, in schools, in corporations, in non-profits, in community organizations, the people who emerge as leaders are often the ones you least expect. Some have just been waiting for the right time to step forward. Others, unsure of themselves, have been pushed from behind. The point is, if you care about people and issues, get involved and see what happens. You may surprise yourself. And keep in mind the Shipley motto.
 
Johnson '67: I think leaders should be good listeners. Ask fellow students, teachers, and administrators questions—and make an effort to really hear what they’re saying.
 
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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.