By Maddie ’18 and Evelyn ’17
The Class of 2016 reached its goal of 100 percent participation before Thanksgiving break in this year’s Growing Violets senior class gift, donations that generally benefit the school’s annual fund or financial aid fund. This accomplishment marks the fourth year in a row of 100 percent senior participation.
Each year Associate Director of Alumnae Relations Lauren Fritzinger ’87, Associate Director of Annual Giving Karen Harwitt and 12th Grade Dean Alison Moser organize the seniors’ donations.
“Whether you’ve been here four years or six years, [the senior class gift] is a way to thank your teachers as you’re kind of out the door, going to college,” Fritzinger said. “It’s a way of thanking everybody, of giving it back, of paying it forward, and of showing gratitude.”
Eight student volunteers presented the program to their peers and asked students to give a meaningful amount to the fund, emphasizing that any sized donation was appreciated.
Through Growing Violets, an overarching program that connects Marlborough alumnae with current students, seniors were encouraged to make unrestricted donations that typically support the annual fund, or restricted donations that would be directed to particular funds, like financial aid and athletics.
“I know over the years as I have gotten more and more involved in the Marlborough community, I’ve always found it rewarding, so I was really into the idea of giving back in any way I could,” leader Bea Jones ’16 said.
Student leaders and faculty rallied to avoid being known as the class that didn’t reach its 100 percent goal. Head of School Priscilla Sands announced that she would match the grade’s donation to the fund (in addition to her annual fund gift). Student leaders also promised a “reverse day,” where senior advisors would wear the girls’ uniforms while the students would be allowed free dress.
Although the majority of seniors said they had a positive Growing Violets experience, a few girls said that they felt pressure from their peers to give money. Gwen Snyder ’16 said she was uncomfortable with her leader repeatedly asking her for money and knowing how much she donated.
“Not everybody is always in a position where they can give back right then and there, where they might feel comfortable,” Snyder said. “I think a lot of times at Marlborough we assume that everybody is in that position and maybe even make them feel a little bit uncomfortable about not being in that position.”
Upon learning of students’ concerns, Fritzinger said that the program has always been met with positive feedback from student leaders, but the team of organizers can now work to respond to these concerns.
“In the future, [the students] could bring the envelope [of money] straight to us, instead of to their leader,” Harwitt said. “[If] you wanted to be anonymous to your leader, you could give the envelope straight to Ms. Fritzinger, and no one in your class would know how much you gave.”