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Stepping into Our Future

Stepping into Our Future
Katherine Bradley, Head of School

Dana Hall School students and faculty marked a historic occasion on Monday, March 4, 2024 with the opening of the new Upper School Building. The following is an excerpt of Head of School Katherine Bradley’s remarks.

This is a moment to celebrate our future, and all that will take place inside the walls of this magnificent building, but this is also an occasion to remember our past, and the leaders whose vision and wisdom we honor every day. This project has always been deeply rooted in Dana Hall’s rich history. Today as we celebrate this facility and all the possibilities it holds, we honor our past, just as we did when we made the design decision to keep the central portion of the old Classroom Building, including this auditorium. 

That building was dedicated on June 2, 1956, and at that service, Judge Edmund Dewing, who was the Chair of the Board of Trustees, shared these words, before he introduced Owlsey Brown, president of Student Government for 1955-56. He said:

“Miss Brown, a school exists for those who are there to learn. However extensive the buildings, they are of little value unless they are filled with able, earnest students. You and your fellow students at Dana Hall — and those who have graduated before you — have in a very real sense made this new building possible. The success of Dana Hall girls has kept before us all a dream of what more modern equipment would mean to the school.”

Judge Dewing's words, uttered 68 years ago, remind us that this building is here because of all of our students — past, present, and future.

The planning for this building started in 2019, and since then hundreds of people have been involved in the design, construction and funding of this project. We collaborated with architects, interior designers, and landscape architects. We worked with all varieties of engineers: seismic, acoustic, geologic, mechanical, electrical, structural. There were hazardous materials removal specialists, safety experts, arborists, a.k.a. tree specialists, IT technicians, lighting specialists, heavy equipment operators, excavation specialists, concrete specialists and glass technicians. Parts of the building were torn down and parts were preserved, and through it all, we got to witness many examples of what we teach and learn every day in our Dana Hall curriculum. Yes, the skills gained in science, technology, engineering, visual arts and math are quite clear, but the lessons learned in English, social studies, world languages and performing arts help us to understand human interaction and collaboration, which has been so vital to the success of this project.

This massive project has been paid for by generous donors; none of the costs have been covered by tuition. That means that members of our community made the important choice to support our vision, even way back when all we had were drawings and floor plans. These donors believe in the mission of Dana Hall – they believe in you, and in the students and teachers who will be here next year, and 10 years from now, and far into the future. They want you to have the best possible experience, in the best possible facility. They want to make sure you have every opportunity to learn, grow and thrive, and then go out into the world to lead with confidence and compassion.

I have no doubt that there will be more projects in the future--more growth for Dana Hall--and it is exciting to imagine that future members of our School will look back at today, at all of you, as we mark this historic moment in our School’s rich history. 

I was in the building one evening last week, when no one else was there, and in my solitude I felt enveloped by the history of all those who since 1881 believed in the enduring power of educating girls to become strong, independent women, and I feel so privileged to be amidst all of you who will carry on that mission far into the future. 


The entire school community gathers inside the renovated Waldo Auditorium.