The mourning after: Clinton supporters at Archer come together following election results


Photo credit: Eloise Rollins-Fife

The AP Studio Art class displays their mural in the courtyard gallery. The focal point of the piece is the phrase "Stronger Together," which became a major slogan of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

When Donald Trump won the presidency on Nov. 8, few saw it coming. For many Archer girls, who have been described as “extremely liberal” and who attend a school focused on female empowerment, the news was met with shock and tears.

In a segment for the “Today Show,” senior Audrey Koh called the day — which many had hoped would be a celebration of the first female president — a communal progression through the “five stages of grief.”

“Donald Trump is elected, and the majority of the campus is devastated. He is racist and misogynistic, and that perspective being in office is legitimizing it for the whole country,” Sarah Walston ’17 said. “It’s going to become even more present than it is today. I am disgusted, I am emotional and I can’t believe that this happened.”

Noa Diamond ’18 said, “It didn’t really hit me that he won until I came to school today and heard everyone talk about how they’re feeling, and how scared everyone is for the future. Then it really sunk in that, wow, I just can’t believe our country voted for this man to be president, and I just can’t believe how split and divided the country actually was in its views.” 

Elizabeth Zinman '17 shows off her "Nasty" badge in honor of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Photo by Eloise Rollins-Fife
Elizabeth Zinman ’17 shows off her “Nasty” badge in honor of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Middle school students were not exempt from this effect.

When I got off the bus to school, all my friends were down the hall sobbing their eyes out, and then when I went to the meeting in the Rose Room, everyone was crying. So I mean, today is a sad day. It is the day to mourn,” Lexi Tooley ’22 said.

“The election happened, and there was nothing I could do about it, which made me really sad,” Presley Sacavitch ’22 said. “Today I’m just feeling disappointment, but also support, because a lot of my friends are feeling the same way — so we are all there for each other.” 

In addition to the “Today Show,” the Hollywood Reporter quoted an email written by Head of School Elizabeth English in their article “Los Angeles Schools Offering Counseling, Support in Wake of Donald Trump’s Election Win.”

“Little could have prepared us, even as educators, for the waves of emotion that swept the school first thing this morning. We gave the girls time and space to process their feelings and fears, regardless of their position,” she wrote.

Upper School Director Samantha Coyne Donnel was optimistic about Archer students’ futures.

Senior Isabel Adler shows off her "Women for Hillary" shirt in the wake of the candidate's loss.
Photo by Eloise Rollins-Fife
Senior Isabel Adler shows off her “Women for Hillary” shirt in the wake of the candidate’s loss.

“I think this just serves to support why this school’s here, and why it’s so important for us to be here recognizing the seniors. I know some of you have said you’re scared to go out there, but I’m hopeful. And so this is a day to recognize you, and your contributions to this community, but we’re also thinking about you as members of the future,” she said.

Many expressed their gratitude for Archer’s environment on this day.

“I am glad to be at school because my attendance at Archer defies everything Donald Trump stands for. And I wouldn’t want to be home crying — I would want to be here,” senior Carly Feldman said.

“I think the administration is doing a really nice job of letting students who are feeling disappointed express their opinions,” Isabel Adler ’17 said. “They’re not saying anything about my Hillary shirt, which I really appreciate because I’m having a hard time with this election, and it’s letting me have my last hurrah. I’m really glad the administration is supporting students who feel sad.”

Throughout the day, students were provided with opportunities to process, share and cry with one another in a designated council space and in individual classes.

“We’re so lucky to have this inclusive space for everyone who’s just feeling devastated,” Koh said. 

The night of the election, Coyne sent out an email to the Archer community as the results were coming in.

“Regardless of your political views, my hope is that our community will come together tomorrow and respond with civility, poise, and respect,” she wrote. “I trust you, the student body, to rise above the divisive, inflammatory rhetoric of this election and to act with compassion and respect towards one another in conversation, over social media, and in any other forum.”

However, Alessandra Judaken ’21, who supports Trump, did not have a good experience.

“I was not expecting such a political experience. I have never been so exposed to politics. To be honest, it was one of the worst days of my life. I called my mom and talked to Dr. Nesbitt. I felt like I was being accused for things that [Trump] believed. [Many Archer girls] completely shut me out and didn’t talk to me at all.”

The senior seminar "Voice of Democracy," colloquially known as "elections class," holds a council for everyone to process their emotions.
Photo by Eloise Rollins-Fife
The senior seminar “Voice of Democracy,” colloquially known as “elections class,” holds a council for everyone to process their emotions.

“I know it was uniquely challenging on Wednesday for conservative students at a girls school in a city whose voters supported Hillary Clinton 3 to 1,” Dean of Students Travis Nesbitt wrote in an email. “In this context it was important to remind students of our values of respect and empathy and our mission to engage the issues critically and intellectually.”

Though the results left many students disappointed, some commented on their hopes for a brighter future.

“I will never forget walking into Archer and seeing all of those girls crying in the courtyard. It was unbelievable, and not only was it moving, but it proved to me how much people really cared about this election and how invested young women were in it,” Maya Winkler ’18 said.

“I’m hopeful, and I’m crossing my fingers that our country is going to be in good hands and that we have enough checks and balances to allow for positive futures.”