In the winter of 2014, former Director of the Upper School Armistead Lemon, had an "aha" moment. After listening to a thought-provoking senior speech about the need for women to be bolder and occasionally break the rules, she saw an article in The Atlantic called "Bridging the Confidence Gap." Ms. Lemon, who was then an English teacher before becoming the director of the upper school, knew that at Harpeth Hall needed to be more intentional in building confidence in its students. The girls needed to know it was confidence, more than competence, that defined a person's success after graduation.
Ms. Lemon, in collaboration with Jess Hill, then the director of the upper school and now head of school, invited a group faculty members to be part of a new Confidence Committee. Using their experience and wisdom, the team worked together over the summer of 2014 to research the idea of building confidence in all Harpeth Hall students. Over the next few years, their commitment to promoting self-assurance across Harpeth Hall's campus deepened. The group worked regularly with upper school students to lead discussions about inhibitors to girls' confidence and to help students develop tools to mitigate those obstacles. They worked with faculty and parents to help ensure that students received consistent messages about the value of struggle, the gift of failure, and the risks of perfectionism and comparison. The team presented its work at several national conferences, including The National Association of Independent Schools and The National Coalition of Girls' Schools.
Today, the Confidence Committee has extended its work into the Harpeth Hall middle school and overseen the creation of a Student Confidence Committee. This student group, which includes more than 30 members, has taken the lead in promoting girls' confidence on Harpeth Hall's campus through events and creative initiatives. The Confidence Committee looks forward to developing and expanding the ambitious work in the years to come.