ESPERANZA ACADEMY is a tuition-free, independent middle school in the Episcopal tradition welcoming girls of diverse faiths, races and cultures from Lawrence, Massachusetts. Esperanza's mission is to inspire its students to become active learners and responsible global citizens. We empower and prepare our girls to meet challenges with courage, integrity, and respect.
The school is 100% privately funded and relies on the generosity of its donors.
Harvest of Hope: An Inspirational Evening for a Great Cause
LAWRENCE, MA –Nearly 400 supporters attended Esperanza Academy’s annual Harvest of Hope Dinner and Auction on Friday, October 24, at the Black Swan Country Club in Georgetown. The gala is Esperanza’s biggest annual fundraising event.
““It was an extraordinary evening thanks to the care and diligence our faculty, Trustees, and students dedicated to this year’s Harvest of Hope,” said Head of School Christopher H. Wilson. “We are grateful to the many guests whose generous contributions continue to support the edification of our students.”
Esperanza students took center stage from the start of the event, welcoming guests at the entrance and mingling with them before dinner. During the dinner program, Esperanza’s chorus sang a delightful rendition of the folk song “I See The Morning Breaking.” But the highlight of the evening was an inspirational speech by eighth-grader Juliana Fernandez, who moved the crowd with her candor and humor.
“Looking back, I thank God that Esperanza Academy is the kind of place where they don’t give up on you,” said Fernandez. “At Esperanza, it’s like they see that these small stones can be polished into gems. For a while, I was a pretty rough rock! It is not just a school for the gifted students, but also for the girls that need a little extra help and patience believing in themselves.”
The gala dinner honored Tom and Nancy Maher with the Rosalyn Kempton Wood Award for personifying “generosity of spirit and abiding commitment to education and the future of the young women of Lawrence, MA.” The Mahers were instrumental in the founding of Esperanza in 2004 and Mr. Maher became the Academy’s second president of the Board of Trustees. The Mahers also established the Maher Family Esperanza Academy Scholarship Fund.
The Harvest of Hope also featured a keynote by renowned former CNN International Correspondent Jill Dougherty, who shared that her road to success did not take a linear path, but that curiosity, discovering and studying her passion (Russia and the Russian language), being prepared, and saying “yes” to opportunity were keys to her considerable accomplishments.
Ms. Dougherty, who joined CNN at its founding over three decades ago, served as CNN’s Moscow Bureau Chief, White House Correspondent, and Managing Editor of Asia/Pacific. Currently, she is a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.
Esperanza Academy is a tuition-free, independent middle school in the Episcopal tradition that welcomes low-income girls from Lawrence, MA, of diverse faiths, races, and cultures. The school, with its nurturing, academically rigorous curriculum, inspires students to become active learners and responsible global citizens. Esperanza is 100% dependent on the support of generous individuals, corporations, and foundations whose contributions pay for the schools yearly operating budget.
Esperanza Academy Implements iPads in the Classroom Program
Esperanza Academy rolled out an ambitious new program to integrate iPads into the classroom. The 1:1 iPad classroom program, which supplies iPads for all Esperanza students, will modernize and enhance the classroom experience for students, providing one-point access to textbooks, research and information resources, assignments, note taking, and new and engaging learning opportunities.
“Our iPad program provides a valuable teaching and learning tool to support our students’ critical thinking and creativity in and out of the classroom,” said Esperanza Academy Head of School Christopher H. Wilson. “ More critically, we are helping bridge the digital divide that puts our low-income students at a disadvantage. Many of our students, who do not have Internet access at home, will now be able to conduct research for a paper or look up information on their iPads during their homework hour at school. We are proud to empower our students with this access.”
While some may fear that adding tablets to the classroom will add yet another source of distraction for students, studies have found that iPad and tablet integration improves classroom learning, especially in the sciences. The Esperanza iPads are managed through a mobile device manager (MDM), a control center that administers users’ profiles, controls distribution of applications and books, restricts access to inappropriate content, and tracks the iPads’ whereabouts. The iPads are equipped with “Evergreen” applications, which are neither content nor grade-level specific, that allow students to create and demonstrate their understanding of ideas.
“We are thrilled to have access to technology that will help us better engage and motive students,” said Principal Sandi Pilt. “Some of the programs we will utilize transform the classroom into a multi-dimensional learning experience. As an educator, it’s exciting to help create a 21st-century learning environment at Esperanza Academy and help prepare and propel our students for success in the digital age.”
The iPad program is made possible through a generous grant from the Van Otterloo Family Foundation, a nonprofit trust that benefits educational institutions and related activities.