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Student Profiles

Glendean Hamilton ‘09

Glendean Hamilton ‘09
“BHSEC is intense with a purpose, challenging with a vision.” Glendean Hamilton ‘09 is a graduate of BHSEC Manhattan. She double majored in government and education at Smith College. For the next two years, Glendean will be teaching in Boston as part of Teach for America.

Glendean came to BHSEC from the Richard R. Green Middle School in the Bronx. She found BHSEC’s environment to be transformative because the academic environment was one where intellectual freedom was valued. “Being able to ask questions of the texts, of the authors, and being able to question and challenge the professors, to know that your voice matters, that was something I grew into.”

Learning was loved and unceasing at BHSEC. “My classmates were always so into everything, they just ate up Kafka and Locke and Rousseau. There was truly a sense that knowledge was cool at BHSEC; it was cool to be reading a book. That love of reading permeated regular discussion at BHSEC. While hanging out you were still learning and having a discussion about your seminar reading. That made it an experience like no other.”

Glendean credits BHSEC with expanding her horizons in the realm of higher education. “As a first-generation college graduate, I wasn’t exposed to a lot of colleges. I didn’t understand the college application process and the financial aid process. BHSEC’s College Transfer Office made this information accessible.”

Offered a full tuition scholarship, Glendean enrolled at Smith College. She arrived to Smith with an impressive educational foundation. “I got a head start. My professors would ask, ‘What high school did you go to?’”

“The whole intensive writing curriculum at BHSEC changed my life because I learned to write. Before BHSEC, I felt that I knew English; I thought I was proficient, but at BHSEC I learned how to write theses, defend claims and find textual evidence. It wasn’t until I got to Smith that I realized, I’m a darn good writer because of BHSEC.”

During her second year at Smith, Glendean had an awakening. “I realized my public school experience was the exception to the rule that public schools are failing students, especially people of color. It became my personal mission to write policy and teach so that people can have the education I was fortunate to receive.” That year, she declared an education major. “I went to my professor and said, ‘I want to teach.’ I told him about my middle school experience, BHSEC, and how BHSEC impacted me.”

Upon graduating from Smith, Glendean was accepted to Teach for America. “Teach for America is an organization I want to align with because of their personal determination to closing the achievement gap in this country.” When asked if it’s important that students everywhere have an opportunity to attend a BHSEC, Glendean responded: “important seems like such a weak word for how passionate I feel that students should have an opportunity like BHSEC.” Glendean understood that BHSEC provided her with what is, in many ways, the most important aspect of a young adult’s life: education. However, she strongly believes that an education, like that provided at BHSEC, shouldn’t be a matter of luck and chance, it should be a fundamental right. “We should take a good education for granted. That’s what keeps me up at night and wakes me up in the morning, to make sure that BHSEC is no longer the school at the top of the hill, that schools like this are in every community, in every building.”

“One of the biggest strengths of the liberal arts education I received at BHSEC is that it has enabled me to be a thinker, to strategize and to plan.”