School NewsNov 15, 2023
— updated Jan 25, 2024
Collaborating Boldly and Creatively
Pitching in to support Period Poverty Awareness Week
What happened was this — Jenn contacted Emerald, who mentioned an idea to Donna, who brought it to her class, where one of her students suggested bringing it to her club, which was supported by Ellie, who was coordinating an Alumnae Weekend event with Advancement, where Jenn works.
A member of Pittsfield’s First and South Congregational Churches that operate the South Community Food Pantry, MHS Director of Philanthropy Jenn Kerwood P’21 learned about a project that aligned with the MHS mission to contribute to the common good. So, she contacted Director of Horizons Emerald Power about the pantry collecting period products during Period Poverty Awareness Week.
Emerald mentioned the idea to Science Department Chair Donna Daigle, whose Women’s Health and Global Issues class delves into biological, cultural, social, economic, and political issues affecting girls into adulthood.
"The students were totally on board and decided to create period bracelets that we would sell and raise money,” explains Donna. The bracelets featured 28 pink, white, and red beads to represent the hormonal changes that occur during the menstrual cycle.
One of those students, last year’s Hatch Club co-Leader Francesca Tesoro ’23 suggested the class enlist the help of the club and its advisor, Elizabeth Gatchell Klein Expressive Arts Department Chair Ellie Kreischer. Hatch helps student makers bring creative products to market, Maybe the club could sell bracelets during Alumnae Weekend? They could!
From there, the eight students were off and running. They dug into product development, designed the bracelets, shopped with Ms. Daigle for products to make the bracelets, came up with a price point and creative packaging, made the bracelets, then promoted the sale. They raised $400 in the process, buying a stockpile of period products for the pantry.
“What struck me about the whole project is that it’s very indicative of how Miss Hall’s operating system, and that is to collaborate and connect,” says Ms. Daigle. “This wasn’t something that could be done by one class or one student or one adult, and it’s a perfect example of how we collaborate organically here.”
It’s also a reason why Ms. Daigle supported disconnecting from the Advanced Placement curriculum. She’s not teaching to a test or bound to a regimented lesson plan. If she or a student wants to bring outside projects into the classroom or dive deeper into a topic, they can.
"When you give students voice and choice in what they are learning, they rise to the occasion," she adds. "I was just so impressed with the work that they did, and it just felt like such a great, collaborative process."