Highlands Taught Me “to Stop Apologizing for Taking Up Space” – Alumni Spotlight: Peyton Allen ‘16
We took a few moments to catch up with Highlands alumna and current Barnard College student, Peyton Allen, and hear her advice for middle school students.
Give us an update on your life! Where are you and what are you up to?
I graduated from Chatham Hall, a boarding school in Virginia, in May and am now a freshman at Barnard College of Columbia University in New York City. I am studying remotely this semester from my home in Birmingham.
How did Highlands prepare you for your journey after your 8th grade graduation?
Highlands encouraged me to think critically, ask important questions, and provided me with the tools to express myself thoughtfully.
Why did you choose to stay at Highlands through middle school?
Students and faculty knew me personally and cared about my growth. As a middle schooler, I was able to serve as a mentor to students in the grades below me, but I was also able to access incredible mentorship from faculty and advisors.
What is the most important thing you learned while at Highlands?
One of the most important lessons I learned while at Highlands was to stop apologizing for taking up space. As a young woman, this lesson has been essential to the way I think about my behavior and confidence, whether that be asking questions in the classroom or advocating for a social justice cause that’s important to me. I am extremely privileged to have been introduced to this lesson at such a young age.
What advice do you have for students considering Highlands for middle school?
I encourage students to make their decision based on what they see as their best fit; however, I see Highlands as a community that is inclusive of all interests and backgrounds. There are many opportunities, such as the 8th grade Capstone Project, to explore your interests and sculpt the unique middle school experience you hope to have.
Describe Highlands in three words:
Nurturing, Spirited, Challenging
Share your favorite Highlands memory:
One of my favorite memories is spending time with friends at the Fall Festival!