Right outside my office, a flurry of activity takes place three times a day. The commotion is from our student tour guides arriving in the Admission Office to lead tours to prospective families. With more than 100 members (nearly a third of the Upper School), Blue Key, our tour guide club, is the largest club at Dana Hall School. Some guides are veterans and have been giving tours for 4 years, while others are brand new to Dana Hall, just weeks into their 9th grade year when our tour season begins. The latter are often nervous for their first tours. To help ease their nerves, I often ask them if they remember their tour at Dana Hall when they were applicants. Without fail, they can recall exactly who gave them a tour when they were prospective students, and how welcome and comfortable their guides made them feel when they were nervously visiting the school for the first time. The first impression on that day was pivotal in sparking their love for Dana Hall.
These three moments of commotion are highlights in my day. As guides eagerly discover the families they will introduce to Dana Hall that day, their energy and enthusiasm are contagious. There is a reason that the very first thing you do on your admission visit to Dana Hall is to see the school through a student’s eyes; she is the one who knows the culture, feel, and inner workings best, and she can tell you exactly what makes Dana Hall, Dana Hall.
Each fall at the club fair, I’m always delighted to see how many girls sign up to be tour guides. It’s a big job that not only asks you to give up precious free periods, but one that requires public speaking, meeting and welcoming new people, and conveying the true sense of a place within 40 minutes — not an easy task. The fact that so many students volunteer for this role tells me a lot about our students and the School. Our students are eager to introduce this place they love to others. They are proud to tell them about the special experiences they’ve had, about the incredible friendships they’ve made, and about how they’ve grown and flourished. Each time I hear that commotion outside my office I smile, imagining the wonderful experience upon which those prospective families are about to embark.