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Melodies of the heart: Harpeth Hall's 2024 Step Singing ceremony celebrates community connection

Melodies of the heart: Harpeth Hall's 2024 Step Singing ceremony celebrates community connection
Melodies of the heart: Harpeth Hall's 2024 Step Singing ceremony celebrates community connection

Under the blooming magnolia trees that stand proudly across Harpeth Hall’s campus exists something even more beautiful: a community of young women who exemplify the school’s mission to think critically, lead confidently, and live honorably.

“Here at Harpeth Hall, we are a community of joyful, educated students, as well as a supportive, welcoming faculty and staff, where everyone serves a purpose and supports each other through all times of life,” this year’s Lady of the Hall, Mason Hart, said at the 2024 Step Singing ceremony.

“A community is there to love and support you no matter the situation, and finding that type of love is something that we must all hold onto once we have it — and I have found it here,” Mason said. “Whether it is the Harpeth Hall community, or communities in Nashville, our country, or whichever college you will soon call home, communities are the foundation for the fellowship, support, and love between us.”

On Sunday night, on the eve of graduation, the senior class celebrated their community as they gathered to pass down the leadership of the school to the junior class. The special ceremony carried on the beautiful singing tradition started by the women of Ward-Belmont nearly a century ago. The ceremony also honored the Lady of the Hall, the highest honor given to a member of the senior class, and representatives from each Harpeth Hall class.

Standing together in the Athletic and Wellness Center, the Class of 2024 passed on their leadership of Harpeth Hall by singing Chris Stapleton’s “Friendship.” Senior class president Karis Egly announced that the seniors would be making a donation to the Olivia Fund, a special fund designed to help students and their families with expenses that are important to an inclusive school experience but are not covered in financial aid grants for tuition.

The juniors accepted leadership of the school with their song, “Wide Open Spaces,” by The Chicks. Then, the Class of 2025 pledged to transmit Harpeth Hall better, greater, and more beautiful than it was transmitted to them.

To close the ceremony, Nick Oschman, upper school history teacher and the faculty speaker chosen by the senior class, shared that the habits the class has built over their years at Harpeth Hall — “the work of being knowledgeable, interesting, and interested people,” were never meant to serve them for just their time at the school, but rather to prepare them for the world outside of it.

“It's in the name,” Dr. Oschman said. Harpeth Hall is “a preparatory school. You aren't supposed to think critically, lead confidently, and live honorably for the culture of Harpeth Hall; the culture of Harpeth Hall was designed so you will think critically, lead confidently, and live honorably in the midst of the world.

“This place is a stepping-stone. So that out there, when someone tells you to oversimplify, generalize, essentialize, you think critically. So that out there, when no one else is willing to take on the onus of leadership or make a principled stand, you lead confidently. So that out there, when the wrong way is the easy way, you live honorably anyway. So that out there, when the world tells you that it's simpler to be apathetic, that injustice isn't your concern, that your dreams are too ambitious, you ignore them and stay interested. And I know you will because you have shown us day in and day out the kind of people you are.”

Dr. Oschman encouraged the seniors to go out and remain curious and interested in the world around them. He reminded each girl that Harpeth Hall was only ever meant to be their first “place beloved,” not their last.

While the senior class was just hours away from processing down Souby Lawn in white dresses to graduate from their first “place beloved,” Mason Hart knew this was not the end of the beautiful community the class has built over the last eight years.

“Class of 2024,” Mason said. “We are about to embark on one of the biggest changes we will experience in our lives, and I know that we are perfectly equipped for this change because we are a class of joy, life, and love — and, importantly, community. This is not a goodbye, but a thank you and an ‘until we meet again.’”

Lady of the Hall and the 2024 Court

Lady of the Hall: Anne Mason Hart
Senior Representative: Lauren Marie Wynn
Junior Representative: Kate Irene Day
Sophomore Representative: Kimber Harlowe Corbitt
Freshman Representative: Freya Ruby Heard
Eighth Grade Herald: Jane Elizabeth Cowan
Seventh Grade Herald: Emma Elizabeth Randolph
Sixth Grade Crownbearer: Sarah Elizabeth Agnew
Fifth Grade Crownbearer: Tatum Rebecca Schick
Flower Girls: Anne Fleming Young Clayton, Caroline Rucker Homans, Catherine Chandler Oldacre, Maria Lucile Wiltshire