Global CitizenshipDec 1, 2022

updated Feb 1, 2023

Aurora ’23 Finds Her Place at MHS

Making an impact — and making friends

(Vy Nguyen ’23)

Arriving at Miss Hall’s School in the fall of 2020 was anything but a typical experience.

“I was coming to a new country, halfway around the world, in the middle of a pandemic,” explains Aurora ’23, who hails from Bangladesh. Much about daily life, from traffic patterns in the hallways to doing school by Zoom, was out of the ordinary that first year, but Aurora quickly adjusted.

Elected School Secretary, Aurora is co-Head of the Admissions Ambassadors and of the Crypted 001 Club. She performed in Mary Poppins, is a member of the cross-country team, and is “paying it back” as a Proctor — a senior leader who serves as a mentor and role model for new and returning students adjusting to student life at MHS.

Cherèva McClellan

“At first, I was very shy and not sure what to try,” Aurora recalls of sophomore year. “But joining different Affinity Groups and clubs helped me to step out of my comfort zone and engage and meet people. Seeing the school leaders at the forefront and seeing their passion, having a great Big, connecting with my Proctor — all of that made me see myself in them. I drew confidence from faculty and adults and friends to take that next step, and from there, it was me building confidence and saying, ‘I can do this.’”

Miss Hall’s really felt like a home-away-from-home, even though I was halfway around the world.

“In the beginning, it was terrifying, because I didn’t know what to do, but lots of people along the way supported me — my advisor, roommate, my Big,” she notes. “Miss Hall’s really felt like a home-away-from-home, even though I was halfway around the world. I connected with people from all over the world and knew that I wasn’t alone. I even managed to make friends while keeping socially distanced.”

Fast-forward three years, and Aurora has more than made friends. She’s also made an impact.

Last spring, Aurora was the recipient of a coveted Civitas award, nominated by students and presented by the Student Council in recognition of kindness, generosity of spirit, and distinguished work throughout school life. She was cited for her genuine friendship, natural empathy, consistently sound advice, infectious smile, and perfect combination of humor and wisdom.

Since coming to Miss Hall’s, Aurora has most enjoyed connecting with people from around the world (MHS has students from 21 countries and 14 U.S. states). “In my friend group, there are students from Germany, Thailand, China, Vietnam, the U.S., South Korea,” she notes. “Never in my life would I think I would have the opportunity to connect with people from all over the world. Just hearing their stories over lunch or dinner is special.”

Aurora’s path to MHS began while researching schools with her older sister. “Miss Hall’s attracted both our interests, and it was one of my top choices,” she explains. “It seemed very similar to my old school, and I liked the vibes, like it would be an easy place to adjust so far from home. And, that turned out to be true. It ended up being a really comfortable experience, with people who were understanding and open-minded.”

Horizons was also a big draw, adds Aurora, who wants to be an advocate for others and an agent of change. “I was interested in internships off campus and connecting with the community,” she says. “I am also interested in law, so the opportunity to connect with the greater community and hear their concerns and find ways I could help with them was very appealing to me.”

During the summer before her sophomores and junior years, Aurora interned with an environmental law firm back home, and will intern there again this summer. She has worked to raise awareness for the Acid Survivors Foundation, and, as part of a coding camp experience, created a website to raise mental health awareness specifically for women and non-binary young adults. This year, during Horizons, she is interning with the Barry & Kinzer law firm in Pittsfield.

“Having grown up in a family of helping people, I think law does that beautifully — I can advocate for people who can’t advocate for themselves,” she explains. “I want to use my privilege of education and my voice for others. My main interest is immigration law and helping immigrants achieve the dream that they came to the U.S. for.”

Her advice to new MHS students?

“You are allowed to have time to adjust here, but be bold,” she says. “Step out and take risks. No one will judge you for that, and you will always have advice and support from others who have done it before. And, if you ever feel alone, remember that there are always people here supporting you every step of the way.”