The summer months on The Ethel Walker School campus are anything but quiet. Many of the School’s facilities are put to good use as camps, clinics, and workshops take up residency in the vacant classrooms on fields and and courts during June, July and August. In a true expression of Walker’s facilitating on-going community, alumnae and current students work together as the campus opens itself to the summer activities.
The moment an alumna departs with diploma in hand does not mark the end of their Walker’s journey, but rather marks the commencement of a relationship with a much broader network of Walker’s alumnae, family, and friends. The alumnae are diverse in how they give back to their alma mater. Whether through philanthropy, guest speaking, teaching, hosting events, or finding their way back to the athletic fields as coaches, Walker’s welcomes their alumnae back with arms wide open.
This Summer at Walker’s features 15 organized programs with 19 alumnae and current students heading many of the programs. The athletics programs in particular has a strong line-up of alumnae coaches.
Summer Riding Experience (SRE): Beatrice Bustillo ’23, Holly Silva ’22, and Margaret Szczygiel ‘21
Horizons Field Hockey: Keeley Duran ‘18 Grace Majka ‘19, and Ava Calma ’22
Wildcat Field Hockey Clinic: Keeley Duran ‘18, Grace Majka ’19, Jilian Ventura Nolan’ 99, Liza Phillips ’17, Emily French ’22, and Kat Mason ’21
With alumnae leaders and current students working together, there is a shared sense of pride in giving back to the School. Current students are able to collaborate with and relate to those who have gone before them.
Two young alumnae in particular who are back this summer have already pursued coaching at the collegiate level. Keeley Duran ’18 has just finished her first year coaching at Hamilton College and Grace Majka ’19 will be coaching at St. Josephs in the fall. They credit their time at Walker’s for laying the foundations of their future interests. They saw alumnae involvement as such a normal part of the Walker’s experience, that to be of service to the School felt completely natural.
This past spring, the School began a new tradition by inducting four Walker’s alumnae into the inaugural Athletics Hall of Fame induction ceremony. This annual ceremony will honor those who have made significant contributions to Walker’s Athletics programs and their communities during their time at the School and beyond. By honoring those who have contributed in the past, this tradition will also inspire present students to strive for success. The ceremony itself allows alumnae and current students to come together and connect through athletics. The 2023 inductees were: Nancy Van Voorhees Barrett 1924, Brunhilde Grassi Ryan 1929, Deborah Verry 1929, and Constance Cavino Bell 1948.
Traditions help to act as a bridge between the past and present, allowing common ground to exist between someone who graduated decades ago and one who graduates in 2024. This quiet, yet crucial component of community building is what makes Walker’s such a special place of growth and connection. It is made possible by what happens on campus, what Walkers Women Do in their own journey’s and in what they choose to share when they come back home to campus.
Looking ahead, this fall we are excited to announce our first Alumnae Field Hockey Game. All alumnae, players and non-players are welcome to join! If you know of any Walker’s alumnae who would be a compelling candidate for next year’s Walker’s Hall of Fame cast your vote with the form connected to the button below.