Educating a generation of learners ready and able to address the most pressing issues of their time.
Honoring its founder’s vision, Emma Willard School proudly fosters in each young woman a love of learning, the habits of an intellectual life, and the character, moral strength, and qualities of leadership to serve and shape her world.
With activities led by the Asian Student Union (ASU), Lunar New Year at Emma Willard School is a weekend of celebration including dumpling-making, visiting local restaurants, playing games, a talent show, and theatrical performances to share this important tradition celebrated by millions of people around the globe. Marking the first new moon of the calendar year, Lunar New Year is observed in many different ways. Here’s a look at how the Emma community celebrated this year!
For more than two centuries, Emma Willard School has been a preeminent school for girls, building a proud legacy of leaders who leverage their education to serve and shape the world. Together, we are advancing a vision of purposeful courage and informed action.
At Emma Willard School, we commit ourselves to building a community that values and celebrates differences, encourages dialogue, fosters mutual respect, and highlights our shared purpose and ideals.
Emma Willard School has launched the largest campaign in the history of girls’ schools. With a goal of $175 million, Infinite Horizon: The Campaign for Emma Willard School will ensure our founders’ vision for generations to come.
“I feel comfortable to be myself here.”
Class of 2026
“I am constantly encouraged to challenge and explore myself.”
Class of 2025
“I love the traditions and how they contribute to the sense of community.”
Class of 2024
“Studying at Emma opened new opportunities for me to discover the magic of Chemistry.”
Class of 2024
“The community and atmosphere is unlike any other school I have been to, and the friends and teachers I have made relationships with are some of my strongest.”
Class of 2024
Hear from Abigail (Abbi) P. ’26, a sophomore boarding student drawn to the artistry of dance, singing, and more!
My parents moved from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico and had me and my brother. I came to the States when I was just three and grew up in New Jersey. I was very close with my mom’s side of the family, and I grew up very close to my cousins and their parents on that side. I lived with my mom, brother, grandma, and grandpa for a little before he moved back to the DR.
I now live with my brother, mom, and my dog, a three-year-old Labrador-Shiba Inu mix named Baldo, who is the cutest dog in the world and the best friend I could ever ask for. Although we don’t live as close to them anymore, I’m still very close with my grandma, cousins, and aunt and uncle. My mom visits them almost every day, and I visit them every time I go home for weekends.
I love Emma. I feel like going to an all-girls school that isn’t as restrictive as all-girls schools usually are is exactly the environment I need for high school. I feel comfortable to be myself here and I’m not scared of judgment. I applied to Emma through a program called A Better Chance (ABC), a program for students of color to get matched with schools affiliated with the program based on their compatibility. I first heard about Emma through one of the orientation programs held by ABC where a scholar of the program who at the time went to Emma mentioned the school and how much she enjoyed her time here, so I decided to do some research about it, and it quickly became my first choice.
It was just far enough for me to grow my independence while still being able to come home every so often (thanks to my wonderful mother, who makes a four-hour round trip for me every other weekend). My first time on campus was during Envision Emma, and I immediately knew this was the environment I wanted to grow in.
Emma is where I met some of my best friends and made some of my most incredible memories, so it will always hold a special place in my heart.
On the performing arts…
I love the performing arts. My dad is a musician, so music has always been a huge part of my life. I love anything to do with it really. I’ve been singing since I could talk, and it’s always been something I consider less of a hobby and more as just who I am.
I also started dancing when I was ten, and I immediately fell in love with the artistry of dance, and the relationship between my movements and the music. Here at Emma, I participate in Choir, Inner Choir, and Semiquavers, and I take Advanced Ballet, Advanced Contemporary, and the Choreography Workshop class, putting me on track to hopefully be an Emma Artist next year.
There's always more to learn, especially in art. As the world changes and grows, art develops with it, and I will always enjoy learning more and more about my passions.
On exploring visual art…
This year, I’m taking an Intro to Drawing class, and although I went into the class just needing a visual art credit, I’m finding that I’m not as bad at drawing as I thought I would be. I’ve always put most of my time into the performing arts, but I think moving forward, I might enjoy developing new skills in the visual arts as well.
On favorite Emma traditions…
Ring Siblings!! Although I can’t have one yet, I witnessed a couple of proposals last year, and I feel like it’s the sweetest tradition here! Seeing friends come together and perform songs and dances, sometimes embarrassing themselves publicly for their friend, is such a selfless act, and it's very sweet to see the connection between friends in real-time. It feels like such a real declaration of appreciation and love, and it shows the kind of friendships that last lifetimes.
Hear from Alexis W. ’25 a junior boarding student from Shanghai, China about family dinners, bonding at Emma, and the strength it takes to get in the pool in the winter!
I live in Shanghai, China with my mom, dad, sister, and Daimeng (my doggie). We like to take Daimeng out for a hike, swimming with his friends, or a walk along the Bund. My family loves to invite my aunts, uncles, and grandparents to our house for family dinner, and my favorite part is the gaming part after the dinner. I learned so many fun poker games in the past and even Mojang during this summer.
On discovering Emma…
I learned about Emma from my high school counselors. They told me that Emma is a school that encourages girls to break boundaries. I later discovered the school website and saw the pictures of the beautiful campus, and I knew that this would be the environment that I wanted to study in. This year is my third year at Emma, and I think the sense of a tight community makes Emma special for me. Within this bonding, I harvest way more skills because I am constantly encouraged to challenge and explore myself more.
I am most passionate about swimming. I got into swimming because I used to have asthma, and my parents thought that swimming was a sport that could help me get rid of it. Also coincidently, there was a swim coach picking kids from my kindergarten to cultivate for a district team in Shanghai. Since my mom is tall, the coach thought that maybe I could be a good swimmer. So I got picked and that is how I started swimming. Determination is what I have learned from swimming. In winter when the weather is freezing, I need to convince myself to go to the pool to swim. It has been my 11th year swimming, and it has definitely become one of my life-long hobbies.
On new hobbies…
I would like to explore skateboarding. I watched skateboarders flying past me when I was walking on the street. Some of them did flip tricks and I think it is so cool!
My favorite tradition at Emma is Revels. It has been so fun to see the seniors I know dressing up and performing during Revels. There are so many interesting characters, like devils, jesters, country women, etc. Revels have always been such a vivid memory for me.
Thanks you Alexis, for sharing your passions and contributing to the Emma Willard School community in unique and significant ways! We look forward to seeing the impact you will have as you continue to serve and shape our world!
Hear from Charlotte L. ’24 on community at Emma, pursuing a career in broadcast journalism, and her favorite tradition on campus!
Home for me is Schodack, New York, which is about a 25-minute drive away from Emma. I grew up with my two brothers and my parents. I also grew up next door to my grandparents, so I have a very good relationship with them. My oldest brother recently graduated from college and moved out on his own. I have three dogs as well.
I learned about Emma because of my middle school science teacher. He had a child that went to Emma and he thought I would really like it. From the second I stepped on campus, I loved Emma and knew I was supposed to go to school here. I loved the traditions and how they contribute to the sense of community on campus. Another thing I love about Emma is the connections I have with the faculty and teachers (shoutout Ms. Skott and Dr. Grimm). But the thing that makes Emma the most special for me is my friends. I have truly made the best friends at Emma.
On Broadcast Journalism…
I am super passionate about pursuing a career in broadcast journalism. I’ve had the amazing opportunity this summer to do a job shadow at News Channel 13 with Kumi Tucker. I’ve been able to learn so much about the industry and even get some experience of my own. I have been able to learn what goes into reporting on a story, as well as get some practice both in front of the camera and with editing. I became interested in this field because of a field trip I took to News Channel 13 in 8th grade. The whole station and everything about the field trip really sparked my interest. Although I have been fortunate to have this experience and learn about the industry, I still have a long way to go, so I am hoping to continue on this career path in the future.
On Trying New Things…
I really want to get into hiking. I think it's super fun, and I’ve done some hiking in the past, but I would love to get into it more.
On Favorite Emma Traditions…
It’s so hard for me to pick because I really love all the traditions at Emma. But if I had to pick a favorite, it would definitely be Revels! The excitement of Revels week from the not-senior perspective is super fun. Also obviously the excitement of the actual night of Revels is so fun. Getting dressed up and lining up in Lyon-Remington with all my friends are some of my favorite memories I’ve made at Emma. I am really looking forward to being in Revels and experiencing the excitement as a senior!
Thank you, Charlotte for sharing your passions and contributing to the Emma Willard School community in unique and significant ways. We look forward to seeing the impact you will have as you continue to serve and shape our world!
Meet Liza N. ’24 from Western Ukraine. Hear from Liza, in her own words, about her journey from Novovolynsk to Troy, Computational Chemistry, and exploring the ski slopes of the Northeast.
I am from Novovolynsk, a small town located in Western Ukraine. My family is my parents and my elder brother, Roma. They are my greatest love and support, and I can not wait until spring break to go home and spend time together as we used to.
I first learned about Emma through Ukraine Global Scholars - a non-profit organization that helps Ukrainian students apply to boarding schools and colleges all over the world. The first thing that captured my attention about Emma was the limitless power of girls. In my previous school, I was one of the small number of girls who decided to join the Robotics club or Physics team. But here, my life changed, as now I am surrounded by inspiring young women who are unstoppable in front of their goals. For me, a supportive community is what makes Emma special.
From the time I was little, I remember imagining myself as a scientist working in a lab. I dreamed of going to school and discovering the mystery of science, but it appeared that studying chemistry in my school was not that magical, but limited to relearning the book. I tried to find different ways to learn Chemistry through experiments. For that purpose, I organized a Crystal Appreciators Club, where my friends and I had fun growing different shapes of crystals. Studying at Emma opened new opportunities for me to discover the magic of Chemistry. The classes here are focused on experiential learning and understanding the process. Also, for my Signature project, I decided to study a new branch of science - Computational Chemistry*. I can say for sure that my experience at Emma will help me to accomplish my childhood dreams of becoming a scientist.
*Computational chemistry is a branch of chemistry that uses computer simulation to assist in solving complex chemical problems.
On Ping-Pong and Skiing…
The whole last summer I spent playing Ping pong with my dad. I am happy that in Emma, I found many students that share this passion with me. Now, when we all play ping pong together, I feel so glad to relax after school and travel back home in my mind.
Also, during Thanksgiving break, I went to the Killington World cup (ski) race and was so impressed by the competition that I decided to learn how to ski during the winter. I can not wait till the new semester to try my new hobby and have fun skiing with my friends.
It is my first year at Emma, but I have already enjoyed a lot of traditions. One of my favorites so far is Emmaween. It is so exciting to meet all the students and teachers in crazy costumes. Also, the whole day is full of fun - a special dinner, a Haunted house, and a lot of trick-or-treating!
Thanks, Liza, for sharing your passions and contributing to the Emma Willard School community in unique and significant ways. We look forward to seeing the impact you will have as you continue to serve and shape our world!
Our One of 360 series continues this month with Mehar S. ’24, a junior day student. Read on to learn more about Mehar’s Emma experience and her love of music and writing.
Hi, I’m Mehar, a day student from East Greenbush, New York, a small, rather uneventful town. I have lived in East Greenbush my whole life with my amazing parents and adorable, mischievous two dogs. I’ve always gotten along well with my parents, partially because I think I am almost a 50/50 split of both of them. We always joke around and spend time together, and as an only child, they’re who I often go to for advice or when I’m bored. My dogs, Pari and Buffy, are 13 years apart and can’t seem to stop trying to jump on each other, but I love them both, and playing with or spending time with them after a long day is always nice.
When I was younger, my dad told me he wanted me to attend Emma, and once I entered middle school, I realized that I wanted to come to Emma, too. So when I got in and knew I was able to attend, the decision was simple for me. The community and atmosphere is unlike any other school I have been to, and the friends and teachers I have made relationships with are some of my strongest. I love the independence that this school offers, as well. I can take a walk in the Back 40 whenever I want or hang out with my friends in the Student Center. Even when I was a new freshman and struggling to find company in the midst of the pandemic, I never felt truly lonely. Walking on campus as the sun set over the buildings, vultures cawing in the distance, I felt at ease rather than feeling alone. I have participated in a range of classes covering different subjects, but I think some of my favorites are Advanced Studies Biology, Anatomy and Kinesiology, and Media Arts. I am very passionate about biological sciences, and I found that both of the above classes and teachers really nurtured my understanding of the topics while still making it enjoyable. I started taking photography more seriously after coming to Emma, and with the help of Ms. Valites, was able to really grow my passion and skill for digital photography and media arts, creating pieces I would have never imagined myself being able to make.
On Music and Writing…
Some of the things I am most passionate about are music and writing. I started singing in the Gurdwara, or Sikh place of worship, when I was three years old and later picked up the harmonium and taus, two instruments, as well. At the Gurdwara, I sing musical hymns on the instruments, and I’ve always enjoyed participating in this. Recently, I have started learning a third instrument, the tabla, which is a percussion instrument that accompanies the others, and I have wanted to play for years. At Emma, I’m able to participate in the Emma Artists program as well, where I can gain advice from peers and perform on my instruments. Other than singing, listening to and finding new music in general is one of my favorite things, and I can often be found with my headphones on.
I also enjoy reading and writing, especially poetry and creative writing. I started writing at a young age, and was supported by teachers in previous schools and Emma, where I have been able to gain help from teachers and even other students.
Both of these activities really help me to destress and focus on something else when I’m overwhelmed, and I really value them in life.
One activity that I wish I could explore more would be ceramics. I remember playing with clay during preschool or digging in my yard for clay dirt and making bowls or other trinkets out of it, but I never got the chance to really learn how to make pottery. Emma has a ceramics class that my dad, who used to do pottery in the past, encouraged me to take part in, but I was unable to due to my schedule. However, in the future, I hope to learn how to make my own pottery on the wheel. For now, looking at the art displays of pinch-pots and bowls in the Slocum hallway will suffice.
On Emma Traditions…
Though it’s hard to pick a favorite tradition at Emma, like most students I think mine would be Revels or May Day. The energy and excitement in the air leading up to Revels is always something that I look forward to, and finally being able to see the seniors’ parts, dress up, and hear the deafening screaming the night of is exhilarating. May Day, on the other hand, feels a bit more relaxed, but always puts a smile on my face to enjoy the warm weather as campus opens up and the flowers bloom again. Watching the ninth graders perform the Maypole dance and the other students bathing in the spring weather is something I love.
Thanks, Mehar, for sharing your passions and contributing to the Emma Willard School community in unique and significant ways. We look forward to seeing the impact you will have as you serve and shape our world!