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What would Sarah Porter think?

Dear Miss Porter’s School Community,

Today, for the first time in the history of our great nation, Americans will have the opportunity to vote for a female president.  

The possibility of a woman as president comes nearly 100 years after the right to vote was granted to American women and 56 years after the first woman ever was elected to a top office in Sri Lanka.

As the head of an all-girls’ school, I can’t help thinking it has been a long time in the coming. As the Head of Miss Porter’s School, I can’t help wondering, “What would Sarah Porter think?” Sarah Porter died 20 years before women even had the right to vote, but if actions speak louder than words, her desire to learn and lead, coupled with her belief that women should not be limited by the lack of a formal education, makes me think she would be very pleased.

What would she say to her students?

I imagine that she would ask them to focus on what matters; she would remind them of their rights and responsibilities, and she would set their sights by talking about what is possible. So, in light of this historic moment, I will share my answers to those questions.

What matters?

At a time of widespread public disagreement, respect for others matters. I believe we must move to a place where we can engage in conversation and the debate of opposing ideas with the goal of coming to clarity on a path forward, rather than creating barriers, which impede our progress as a nation.

At a time when people are feeling misunderstood, disenfranchised and worse, we must exercise our right to vote. We must also take responsibility for being informed and casting our votes with courage and conviction.

Finally, as graduates and supporters of an all-girls’ school, we have the unique opportunity and responsibility to continue the work our founder began almost 175 years ago. Like Sarah Porter, we

must be bold, we must be resourceful, we must be informed, and we must be ethical global citizens.

No matter your political affiliation, I implore everyone to head to the polls and vote, and to encourage others to engage in their civic duty. We do not know what the future holds, but we know that our place in the world will be defined by the promise of our mission statement which says that our graduates are prepared to shape a changing world. There is certainly change in the air and a lot of work still to be done!


Dr. Katherine G. Windsor

Head of School

Sarah Porter
Sarah Porter