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'Twice the fun in 2-0-2-1' reunion honors Harpeth Hall's first students

Head of School Jess Hill laughs with a alumna from the Class of 1960.

On September 17, 1951, Harpeth Hall’s first students arrived on the campus of rolling green hills to attend a new college preparatory school for young women. A welcome addition to the Nashville community, the school opened with 161 students, 15 faculty, and three administrators. Harpeth Hall quickly became established as a respected institution founded on the bold idea that girls deserved a future filled with possibilities and purpose.

Now, 70 years later, alumnae who were members of the early Harpeth Hall classes reminisced about those years in Harpeth Hall’s history and reunited on campus to celebrate all that the school has become.

It was a much-anticipated gathering after the pandemic postponed reunion events in 2020 and 2021. Harpeth Hall’s "Twice the Fun in 2-0-2-1" reunion weekend finally took place on October 8-9, 2021. The weekend celebrated Harpeth Hall's graduating classes ending in 0s, 1s, 5s, and 6s, beginning with 1955 and ending with 2016. Alumnae returned to campus from across the country and from as far away as the west coast and London. It was a picturesque weekend filled with reminiscing, renewing friendships, and creating new memories.

At the Milestones Society luncheon, each class from 1955 to 1966 took a stroll down memory lane reading the dedication pages of their Milestones yearbooks. They were also entertained by 5th grade students who sang the alma mater. In turn, the 5th graders learned that luncheon attendee Fran Keltner Hardcastle ’55 was part of a group of students who helped former English teacher Martha Corwin Gregory pen the song in an upstairs classroom in Souby Hall.

Harpeth Hall Today panel at Reunion 2021

Later that afternoon, Harpeth Hall Today featured an informative question-and-answer session led by Head of School Jess Hill. Mrs. Hill was joined by Upper School world languages teacher and director of our Global Scholars program Elizabeth Allen, Middle School social studies teacher and chair of our SEEK program Garen Eadie, and students Sabrina Russell ’22 and Ashley Maliakal ‘25. The discussion centered around some of the interdisciplinary work taking place in two of Harpeth Hall’s premier programs. Sabrina shared information about her Global Scholars capstone project "Using Sustainable Agricultural Techniques to Combat Food Insecurity" and Ashley described her Middle School SEEK (Scholars Engaged in Extending Knowledge) project entitled “Persuasive Technology and the Adolescent Brain.”

On Saturday morning, Winterim in October classes offered yoga with past faculty member Leslie Matthews, pickleball with past Athletic Director Susan Russ, a watercolor class with Harpeth Hall alumna, past parent, and current Art Department Chair Susie Creagh Elder ’90, and a lecture, Henry VIII and His Six Wives, with the legendary Dr. Art Echerd. Watch a recording of the class.

The Class of 1970 was finally able to celebrate its 50th Reunion brunch at Kirkman House after postponing the May 2020 reunion. Jess Hill recognized the class as the newest members of the Milestones Society. Alumnae received a special pin featuring oak leaves to symbolize strength and a magnolia blossom to signify beauty — a lasting symbol of the bond of being educated at one of the finest women’s schools in the country. 

Harpeth Hall alumnae lead a panel at Reunion 2021

Those who attended Saturday’s Reunion Alumnae Panel were in for a treat as panelists engaged the audience by leading an insightful, inspiring, and often humorous discussion that reflected life “beyond the plaid.” Led by moderator Nancy Graves Beveridge '80, the panelists included Lisa Morrissey LaVange '71, Tammy Wolcott '81, Mary Hunt Martin '95, Carol Cavin-Dillon '86, Brittany Northcross '05, and Lexi Mossman '11. These trailblazing alumnae described their career paths and accomplishments, the strengths and skills that differentiate them from their male peers, and gave advice on how to persevere through challenges and pursue one’s passions. Read the panelists' full bios and watch a recording of the panel.

Saturday evening’s Cocktails on Campus drew a record crowd on Souby Lawn, and alumnae celebrated at individual class parties on both Friday and Saturday evenings.

We extend a very special thank you to Marguerite Nielsen Orndorff ’90 and Meredith McDonald Stewart ’96 for serving as the overall reunion chairs again...and again! Many thanks to all the 2020 and 2021 reunion class co-chairs for your planning and flexibility. 

We sincerely missed those who were unable to attend, and we hope to see you for the next reunion in May 2022 when we will celebrate classes ending in 2s and 7s.

Harpeth Hall alumnae pose with Honeybear