Harpeth Hall students and their mothers or special friends gathered together on October 17 for the Mother - Special Friend - Daughter Coffee. Special thanks to the exceptional co-chairs, Laurie Hooper and Sanders Miller, who planned the event and program with Upper School Director, Armistead Lemon, and Upper School Dean of Students, Liz Stockdale. Upper School Director, Armistead Lemon, welcomed the audience and introduced two student speakers, Grace MacLachlan '21 and Emma Clark Luster '19.
Grace and Emma Clark both praised their mothers for their endless strength, support, and sacrifice through the years.
"To me, my mom has been someone who has supported me. But in reality she's changed many people's lives. She's spent the last 30 years working with kids that have been abused or been in gangs. She's helped them all have the chance for a better life. My mom has always been a mom to me, but she's also been a mom to countless other girls that need a mom like mine." -- Grace MacLachlan '21
"She is intelligent and wise, but can also laugh at herself more than anyone else I know. I cry, I laugh, I certainly argue, and I just talk with her. I cannot even begin to fathom all of the sacrifices that she has made for me... While there is an infinitely-long list of things that I am eternally indebted to my mother for, I am arguably most grateful that she sent me here, to Harpeth Hall, a place where I have found mothers of a different form." -- Emma Clark Luster '19
Director of the Upper School, Armistead Lemon, introduced the keynote speaker, Kathy Denton Stumb.
A member of Harpeth Hall Class of 1979, Mrs. Stumb is the mother of three Harpeth Hall graduates, Grace Stumb Barbieri '10, Mary Denton Stumb '13, and Katy Stumb '17. She is also a 2018 Harpeth Hall Athletic Hall of Fame inductee. Mrs. Stumb shared her reflections on her daughters' teenage years, and the impact Harpeth Hall had on each of them.
"I firmly believe that it takes a village to raise children. With five children, I have developed a rather large village. Church, friends, teachers, mentors, coaches, relatives, schools, all form the foundation of my village. People whom I trust to love, care for, advise, teach, and protect my children. Whenever I'm on campus now, I see so many of you, treasured teachers, coaches, dear friends, and even a few of our past babysitters, and I am so very grateful to all of you for the role you have had in helping me raise my children," Mrs. Stumb said.
She also added, "It is hard being a teenager and its hard being a mother of a teenager. As a Mom, I wanted to make everything perfect for them, help solve all their problems, but in trying to do so, I couldn't seem to get out of my own way and usually ended up in an epic fail. I had to develop a very thick skin, and after 11 straight teenage years with my three daughters, I have Elephant skin!"
The theatre erupted in laughter multiple times from the many humorous and heartfelt memories Mrs. Stumb shared of times with her girls.
Mrs. Stumb closed her remarks by remembering another special Harpeth Hall mother, Dr. Stephanie Balmer, and the Balmer family. Mrs. Stumb read (with permission) from an email from Lauren Balmer. He thanked the Harpeth Hall community for all of their help with filling the "Mom void" in their lives without even being asked.
The following two student poems were included in the program:
"if she knew"
By Quinlan Cyr, Class of 2021
if she knew what she'd become:
when nothing seems impossible
she holds my hands in hers.
when my leggings are soaked
from falling again and again on the solid ice,
she tells me I can
shivering in the frigid arena
day after day
so I can do what I love.
I wonder if she knew
she would make everything seem possible.
"The Echo of You, Is Home"
By Margaret Pugh, Class of 2019
The sound of coffee
Brewing in the morning.
The Echo of a warm pot of stew
On a cold snowy night.
a bright voice
elevating from far away
the fresh smelling cedar
dancing around the clean house.
the melodic feeling
Of your heels on the wooden floor.
it lasts until
I see You again.