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Finding the Gift of Friendship in an All-Girls School

Jeannie Herrick

Strong friendships are some of the greatest gifts that can come from a student’s years in school.

Living in community with others and sharing experiences, memories, and countless conversations are all crucial ingredients in a young person's emotional, mental and spiritual development. While school teaches children how to think and prepares them for college and beyond, it's important not to underestimate the value of creating an environment where strong, healthy friendships blossom and grow—and not just friendships within a grade. Bonds formed with students across grades bring their own special gifts.

In an all-girls school, there is tremendous potential for forming a strong sisterhood amongst students. With their natural aptitude for interpersonal relationships, young women have an opportunity during their school years to make deep bonds with their peers that will last a lifetime. A school where students are immersed in a culture of respect, love, service, and the habit of encouraging and holding each other up is one where good friendships will thrive. Building an environment rooted in friendship means encouraging girls to step out of their comfort zones, reaching out to peers outside of their usual circles. It means giving them plenty of opportunities to connect with students across grades, especially those who share similar passions and interests through clubs, activities, and sports. It means drawing healthy boundaries around technology use so that students get plenty of time for face-to-face interaction. It means building moments for fun and celebration of school spirit into the academic year. It means encouraging students to discuss what they've learned with each other outside of the classroom. All of these things cultivate an atmosphere of joyful acceptance, teamwork, and camaraderie. 

In the words of one student: "A few benefits of building friendships with students outside of your grade are being able to share wisdom with those who are older and younger than you, giving a heads up for expectations in classes...and having someone to make memories and share big and little moments with. I have seen this happen at Oakcrest through the sports teams, clubs, and sister families. These smaller groups that you share a common interest with promote friendships and connections with girls from all grades." 

With intentionality and care, a school can provide the right soil for these strong, deep friendships to take root and grow.

Mrs. Herrick is the Director of Mentoring at Oakcrest. She received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Mary Washington and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from George Mason University. Jeannie brings 30 years of holistic nursing care experience to the Mentoring Program at Oakcrest. She is passionate about helping young women grow in virtue and achieve their fullest potential.
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