AlumnaeSep 14, 2022

updated Oct 5, 2022

Being Yourself

Former Trustees Terry Triest Guylay ’59 and Charles Platt P’04 catch up via Zoom

On the cusp of the new school year, Former Trustee Charles Platt P’04 sat down virtually with Former Trustee Terry Triest Guylay ’59 to catch up and talk about Miss Hall’s.

Here are some highlights of their conversation, and you can watch the 25 minute video below.

What are your favorite memories of your time as a student at Miss Hall’s?

Probably my best memories are the friends I made there. We still see each other, and we have great times. I also remember the classes. I am a student at heart, and I loved going to class, and I loved the teachers. We learned a lot, and I felt we were very well-prepared academically. I’m not particularly athletic, but I rode horses in the spring and in the fall, and riding in the hills of the Berkshires is something I will never forget. It was gorgeous! It is such a beautiful place. And, I got to skate on the pond in the winter.

One other memory of Miss Hall’s is the Christmas Pageant, where the whole school got together. It was art, theater, and community, and the whole school came together, and we put on this pageant. I thought it was great! I loved working on it. It is a wonderful memory.

From the Archives ... MHS Pageants

Classic scenes from the Archives of legendary Miss Hall’s Christmas Pageants, major undertakings overseen by beloved art teacher Elizabeth Gatchell Klein and staged by students each year just before Winter Break. Each production featured elaborate, hand-painted flats, girl-made renditions of Renaissance masterpieces by artists like Giotto and Fra Angelico, along with accompanying music.

 

In the year 2022, do you still think there is a place for single-sex education?

Absolutely. I wish there were more of it. I think it’s a gift for girls to be able to live and work and learn and grow with no distractions. You can just be yourself. Unfortunately, it’s a harder sell than it was when we were growing up, because we didn’t have choices. My daughter attended a co-ed school, and she is a really smart, excellent student, and she did fine, but maybe not as well as she could have done. When we talked about this years later, she said, “It just wasn’t cool to be smart there.” And, at Miss Hall’s, it’s always cool to be smart, as far as I can tell. You learn to lead and excel in a community that works for you.

What are the differences between your time at Miss Hall’s and today?

We lived in a completely different time. You went to school, you went to college, you got married, and you had babies. Maybe you had a job, but career wasn’t a word that we ever used. Now it’s completely different. The students are empowered to be anything they want to be. We also lived in a kind-of a bubble, I don’t remember ever knowing anything that was going on outside of our walls, and there just wasn’t any sense of being connected to a global community.

I think Horizons is the best program. We were told we could do anything we wanted, but nobody showed us how. Horizons sends the girls out into the community to learn from others and how to interact in the real world as opposed to just the Miss Hall’s world. And I think that’s great.

I love the focus on philanthropy. The diversity of the School is extraordinary — and the inclusiveness. The other thing is that I had no grounding in public speaking, and that’s been a challenge all my life. Of course, the girls at Miss Hall’s are well acquainted with that! They are so confident and so comfortable speaking in front of others — I wish we had that.

What did you learn about yourself as a Trustee?

I learned a lot of leadership skills from some great leaders — from Jeannie Norris and Julia Heaton, and also from Board Chairs Stacey Sotirhos and Susan O’Day. They taught me how to run meetings, how to value different opinions, how to make everyone feel as if they’ve contributed and then come to a good conclusion.

The other thing I learned is that Miss Hall’s has an absolutely incredible group of Trustees that are absolutely passionate about the School, and I was very proud to be part of that group.

You have had a wonderful career — do you have any advice for the students today?

I stayed home with my children for ten years, and then I went back to get my MBA when I was 35. One piece of advice I would have for the students today is to take an accounting course. I took a lot of French at Vassar, which was wonderful in college, but accounting is what really mattered to me. The other thing I would say is to carry on the values and the stengths that you learned at Miss Hall’s — to advocate for yourself, to be a leader, to be strong, to ask questions, to not be embarrassed to not know everything, and to get help where you can. Be open to everything! The world is very big, and there are a whole lot of things going on, and you can have a lot of fun if you look around and pay attention to what is interesting to you. Who would have thought when I was in college that I would really find that taxation was a lot of fun? You want to learn constantly. Ultimately, work hard and have fun.

Charles Platt P’04 Interviews Terry Triest Guylay ’59