Meet Our Students

Ireland '18


Ireland'18
Day Student
Watertown, CT

Third Head of School for 2017-2018, Second Head of Wests spirit team for 2016-2017, Head of the Astronomy Club, Active in Westover African Latina Student Association (WALSA), Yearbook Committee member (two years), former Community Service Head and former Social Committee Head; Varsity Field Hockey (four years), Varsity Lacrosse (three years), Varsity Squash (two years); Signature Programs: Invest in Girls (IIG), three years.

Why Westover?

“My aunt and two of my cousins attended Westover, so I grew up hearing stories about how much they loved it. I also came to the School’s summer camp two years in a row. I made lots of friends at the camp, and the dorm parents made me feel so welcome. When I came for a tour, everyone made me feel so supported. All the girls told me how much they liked the School, so it made me feel like it was the right choice for me.”

What activities or interests have you found particularly rewarding at Westover?

“I really drew a lot from my experiences participating in the two community service trips to Kentucky. It made me more aware of the people around me and about other people’s experiences, and it made me more aware of myself and my values. It also helped prepare me for my work at a camp counselor last summer. I also gained so much from going on Student Diversity Leadership Conference in Los Angeles this year. Going to the conference helped my self-confidence, and I have been able to bring back aspects of the leadership training I had there to my role as a student head at Westover.”

Favorite Westover Memory?

“My favorite memory happened when I was a sophomore during the first snowstorm of the year. It was a Friday night, so two of my friends and I got snowboards and we went across the street to the hill and went sledding for three hours. Afterwards, we had hot chocolate. It was one of the most relaxing nights that I have had.”

Favorite Class?

“I love my AP Art History class. I didn’t even know that I was interested in Art History, but then I took a Women in Art humanities course and I found it so interesting to see how all the elements of art – technique, materials, language – become part of the creative process. Ali Hildebrand definitely makes the class so enjoyable. I also enjoyed Myth and Ritual, a history elective I took with Christopher Sweeney during my sophomore year. We examined rites of passage in different societies and cultures. We talked about how people in different cultures see the purpose of life and how history and rituals from religion are incorporated into their lives. I liked how open-ended our class discussions were.”

What one piece of advice would you give to incoming freshmen?

“I would tell her not to be afraid, because there are so many opportunities at Westover. Don’t hold back. If there is something you want to accomplish here, don’t be afraid to do it, because you will have all the support you need at the School. Just take hold of every opportunity you can because it goes by really quickly.”

One Word To Describe Westover:

“More.”

Marianella '20


Marianella
Day Student
Sandy Hook, CT

Student Ambassador (Admission Office), Theme Year Committee member, JV Squash, Golf, Dance, Handbells, Signature Programs: Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) and Invest in Girls (IIG).

Why Westover?

“Prior to Westover, I had been in a small Catholic school for six years. I was hesitant to leave my school, my teachers, and my close friends and make the leap into searching for the perfect high school. My ideal school was one that was small and individualized, a school where a student is not just a number but part of the community. I wanted to feel comfortable in my own skin and be able to balance out academics, sports, extra-curriculars, all while still being able to socialize. When I first shadowed a student at Westover, I was hit with an overwhelming sense of warmth from the faculty and students. I loved all of the endless options of sports, courses, clubs, and programs. I knew an all-girls school would provide an environment which fosters growth in each student.”

What other activities or interests have you found particularly rewarding at Westover?

“I have been taking WISE classes since the beginning of freshman year. My favorite WISE classes so far are Structural Engineering and Computer Programming. This is my first year taking IIG [Invest in Girls]. I think IIG is unique because not many schools offer the opportunity to learn about the stock exchange, investments, and personal finances early on in your high school career. This summer, I also am going on the School’s cultural immersion/community service trip to Rwanda.”

“I also am a Student Ambassador for the Admission Office and a member of the Power of Women Theme Year Committee. Being an ambassador is very rewarding because I am able to answer prospective students’ questions and help them make the right high school decisions. I enjoy being on the Theme Year Committee because I am able to help plan all-school activities that are geared for the advancement of women.”

What’s your favorite Westover memory?

“My favorite Westover memories include two traditions: Candlelight and Lantern. Wearing our uniforms and singing as a whole community makes me feel at home among the people I care about the most. I know that these traditions are what make Westover unique. It amazes me that girls before and after me have participated in and will continue to participate in these traditions, some of which go back to the School’s founding in 1909.”

What’s your favorite class?

“Having thought about this question for a while, I honestly cannot pick! I think each of my courses are so different from each other; it is challenging to choose just one.”

What one piece of advice would you give to incoming freshmen?

“Do not be afraid to try new things. Whether it is sports, language, academics, or activities, you won’t know how much you enjoy it if you don’t treat it like an adventure.”

One word to describe Westover?

“Growth."

Jyne '18

Jyne'18
Day Student
Bethlehem

Music – First Head of Glee Glub, Member of Chamber Choir and Undertones (Westover’s a cappella group); Theater – First Head of Drama; received a Halo Award nomination Best Featured Performance in a Play for her role as Astrov in Uncle Vanya; Athletics – Varsity Soccer, Varsity Lacrosse; Member of Spectrum; Signature Programs: Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) four years; Invest In Girls (IIG), three years.

Why Westover?

“Westover was the obvious choice for me: my mother [Jana Dunbar, Science Department Chair] is a teacher at Westover and I knew I would thrive and do well here. I also knew several girls from my middle school who had gone to Westover and I had heard good things about it from them.”

What other activities are you involved in at Westover?

“I am the First Head of both Glee and Drama. Coming into Westover, I never would have expected to have either of these positions. I enjoyed singing but was not particularly invested in it, and I did not start doing plays until my sophomore year. However, I am so glad that my friends convinced me to run for Glee Head. I am so proud of my singers after every concert! I am also glad to be Drama Head because I still do not consider myself a particularly experienced actor, so it pushes me out of my comfort zone every day, but I still love it and love being able to work with my fellow actors.”

What’s your favorite Westover memory?

“My favorite memory is of performing in Uncle Vanya, the winter play my junior year. I was playing Astrov, a doctor who has a brief affair with a married woman who is also sought after by another man (who happens to be one of Astrov’s closest friends). This love triangle comes to a head in Act III, when Astrov convinces the woman to kiss him. I had been struggling with the scene in rehearsal because I had never done anything like it before and was especially nervous about performing it. However, as the scene progressed, I realized that members of the audience had become so invested in the performance that they were talking to each other, wondering what was going to happen. In the scene’s climax, several students in the audience literally screamed. I walked off the stage full of adrenaline and proud of myself, my scene partner, and the audience for creating such an incredible moment.”

What’s your favorite class?

“I’ve actually had a number of favorite classes over my time at Westover: AP Computer Science as a sophomore, BC Calculus as a junior, and most recently, Dostoevsky with Tom Hungerford and Bruce Coffin. Mr. Hungerford and Mr. Coffin are so knowledgeable about their subject and every class is entertaining. I also love the Hispanic Literature course I am taking with John Turner, although it is quite unorthodox: I am the only student and we spent most of last term reading, discussing, and writing about Julio Cortázar, our favorite Latin American author.”

What one piece of advice would you give to incoming freshmen?

“Keep an open mind. I never expected to enjoy an English class or to have a lead role in a play or to be friends with some of the people I am friends with as an incoming freshman, but because I decided to just give it a chance, I have learned about myself and the people around me.”

One Word To Describe Westover:

“Enriching.”

Xitlali '19


Xitlali '19
Boarder
Bronx, N.Y.

Second Head of Overs spirit team for 2017-2018, Varsity Squash (three years), Varsity Soccer (two years), Varsity Lacrosse (one year), Member of Westover African Latina Student Association (WALSA), Women in Medicine.

Why Westover?

“When I came for my interview, I just felt very comfortable here. Students and faculty were very supportive and it felt as if they wanted to meet me – they went out of their way to talk to me and ask me questions about myself. There was a sense of community, and it felt like home.”

What activities or interests have you found particularly rewarding at Westover?

“I have enjoyed being an Over Head. It gives you a chance to develop relationships with the new girls and to get to know them better. I enjoy the activities that help raise their spirits and make them feel that they are part of the community, because it can be challenging as a new girl coming into a boarding school environment. I wanted to make the new girls feel as welcome as I felt when I was a freshman. And then, over the course of the year, you can see them growing more confident and to feel that they are more and more a part of the community. The next thing you know, they are running in the election for next year’s West or Over Heads.”

Favorite Westover Memory:

“My favorite memories are connected with our Traditions. For example, I love when the West and Over teams rally at the end of New Girl Weekend. Rallying is so great – it pumps you up and it is such a good way to start off the school year. Then, in the spring, the West and Over Germans are great because it’s another chance to get closer to so many other students. And you get to dance as part of Germans. I love dancing – it just makes me so happy. I also love Heads’ Holiday, when we are given a surprise break from classes for a day. Last year I went ice skating for the first time in years and it was so much fun. It ended up being one of the funniest – and one of the best – days of my life.”

Favorite Class:

“I love all my math classes because I really enjoy math. I like going to the board and doing our hands-on work with other students, instead of sitting at a desk and working out problems on our own. I love all of our science classes for the same reason. And I wasn’t expecting it, but I also came to love Latin. It helps you identify root words, which is so useful in other classes.”

What one piece of advice would you give to incoming freshman?

“Be yourself and just go for it!”

One Word To Describe Westover:

“Crazy … but in a lot of good ways. Crazy happy!”

Wava '21


Wava '21
Day Student
Brookfield, CT

Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) program, Theater (technical crew – costumes), Swim Team.

Why Westover?

“I was originally drawn to Westover because it was an opportunity for more than what my public high school could offer me academically. Then, when I came to visit, I experienced the sense of community that Westover possessed, and that was what sealed the deal for me. It was not something I had experienced at a school before, and I knew that I definitely wanted to attend this school.”

When you take part in a Westover activity, how is it rewarding for you?

“As a freshman, I am ‘testing the waters’ and trying to find out what suits me best and what I enjoy the most. So far, I have participated in both the fall musical, The Secret Garden, helping with costumes, and this term I am on the swim team.”

Favorite Westover Memory?

“My favorite Westover memory was when some of my friends and I went up to the area around the Seven Sisters Fireplace to shoot footage for a History project. It was still early in the morning, so the sun wasn’t fully up yet and the grass was still damp. We had to try and film it multiple times because we kept laughing and messing up. I remember being really happy and just enjoying the moment.”

Favorite Class?

“I really enjoy my Biology class because I’ve always been interested in the science of life, and the hands-on aspect of the class adds a great deal to the experience. In addition, the teacher, Sarah Michaelson, makes the subject interesting and she is easy to listen to.”

What one piece of advice would you give to incoming freshmen?

“Don’t stress. It may be tough getting settled in and I know that I, among others, stressed ourselves out over every little thing. Don’t worry so much. If you need help, schedule a conference with a teacher. In the end, everything will be okay and it will even itself out. If you mess up, you can learn from what you did and improve. It may sound cliché, but it’s true. If you put the work in and let yourself approach things calmly, you can succeed.”

One Word To Describe Westover:

"Opportunity."

Past Profiles