Annual Founders Day ceremony ‘put[s] women back in the story’


Photo credit: Yasmin Gohar

Meehan delivers a speech to the students, parents and faculty. Meehan founded the school in 1995 with Shorr and Callaway.

Over 495 chairs were set up in a windy courtyard for the Founders Day and Senior recognition ceremony on Nov. 7 at the end of the school day. The celebration was dedicated to honoring the Class of 2019 and Archer’s three founders: Dr. Diana Meehan, Victoria Shorr and Megan Callaway. The event was attended by students, faculty and senior parents.

Meehan, along with Head of School Elizabeth English and Student Body President Juliet Youssef, spoke at the ceremony.

In her speech, Meehan commented on how “poised” and “willing the [Archer] students are to help.” Meehan asked each grade level to shout out changes they want to make in the world. Students shouted out goals such as “love is love,” “break the glass ceiling,” “I believe her” and “ending racism.”

“She was really inspiring,” sophomore Hannah Joe said. “She used her speech to incorporate the crowd and make it more interactive and interesting.”

The upper school a cappella group, The Unaccompanied Minors, performed during the ceremony, singing a pop song as well as Archer’s song, “Within the Walls of Archer.” The upper school orchestra, which was led by orchestra teacher Susan Smith, also performed a song called “Perpetuoso” by Brian Holmes.

“I always feel really proud of playing of Founders Day because I get to represent orchestra and we get to show the talent that Archer has,” sophomore bassist Ava Thompson said. “It’s definitely more of an adrenaline rush [than other performances].”

Class Dean Margaret Shirk also spoke during the ceremony, praising the graduating class for upholding the founders’ vision. Specifically, she said she was proud of the grade’s initiative and innovation. 

“I really liked what she talked about in terms of our grade and our passion for service and innovation,” senior Sammy Raucher said. “It connects to a lot of what Archer stands for and the idea of Archer being an innovation for the founders.”

After the speech, Shirk called each senior’s name. The students shook hands with Middle School Director Karen Pavliscak and received a white rose from Upper School Director, Gretchen Warner.

Meehan said that Founders Day is important because it recognizes the history of an all-girls institution in a society where women’s history is often neglected. 

“We need to know our history,” she said. “It is one of the things [Archer is] about — putting women back in the story — and it is important we are not compromised in our own story.”

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  • Senior Grace Kerner accepts a white rose from Pavliscak. Each senior was recognized by name.

    Photo credit: Lola Lamberg

  • The upper school orchestra plays “Perpetuoso.” The orchestra was the first group to perform in the ceremony.

    Photo credit: Lola Lamberg

  • Senior parents and students gather in courtyard. Speakers included Diana Meehan, Elizabeth English, Juliet Youssef and Margaret Shirk.

    Photo credit: Lola Lamberg

  • The upper school a cappella group, The Unaccompanied Minors, performs “Brave” by Sara Bareilles. The group performed twice during the ceremony.

    Photo credit: Lola Lamberg

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