Last week we were thrilled to welcome author, philanthropist, and advocate Chelsea Clinton—herself an alumna of Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC—to San Francisco Friends School to talk about her books She Persisted, She Persisted Around the World, and It's Your World. and the inspiring lessons featured in each. Ms. Clinton makes a point of visiting one school in each city she travels to, and we were honored that she chose to spend time with us at SFFS.
First, Ms. Clinton visited with our Lower School friends to talk about some of the compelling stories of female innovation, strength, and leadership featured in her She Persisted series. She shared the stories of civil rights icon Ruby Bridges, labor union activist Clara Lemlich, and the pioneering early 20th-century journalist Nellie Bly, among others . Before heading into the Learning Commons to meet with our middle-schoolers, she took questions from our eager audience, which ranged from asking why she decided to write She Persisted to who her biggest heroes are to what she liked most about attending Quaker school.
Next, Ms. Clinton met with our Middle School community to share some of the advice and experience featured in It's Your World. This rich discussion focused on how our middle-schoolers, who are becoming increasingly aware of how they can make an impact, can get involved with meaningful activism in their communities. Ms. Clinton encouraged our students to believe that they can achieve great things themselves by finding their passions and going after them. She also emphasized that while much progress has been made over the decades, there is still much work to be done, and people are often shocked at outdated laws that still exist even within our own country and state. Specifically, she highlighted minimum marriage age laws in many states, which are far lower than many of us realize—in some states lower than the minimum age to hire a lawyer, problematic for a teenager who may want to exit an unhealthy marriage entered into when they were far too young. Clinton used this example as an issue she is passionate about and advocates for whenever given a platform and/or opportunity.
Thank you once again to Chelsea Clinton for taking the time to speak at Friends about a variety of important issues, and inspiring our students to be brave, innovate, speak their truth, and get involved!
Photos by Kena Frank.