It’s a Girl Thing: My DSHA Experience

whyallgirlsBy Aubrey Murtha — Now, I’m no radical feminist.  However, I must say, if you have not experienced an all-girls education for yourself, you really haven’t lived. 

I will admit that I may be a little biased, but after four years of single-sex schooling at Divine Savior Holy Angels (DSHA) High School, I can honestly say that I would not trade that part of my life for the world.  Contrary to popular belief, most all of us are not spoiled or catty.  We do not have a faculty composed solely of nuns—although we do love our one spunky Sister in the theology department.  Our lives do not revolve around One Direction, Twitter, and Starbucks. 

No.  There is much more to an all-girls education than that.

Every now and then, I am sorry for the world’s male population.  You cannot control the fact that your hormones and a few other unmentionables prevent you from partaking in this gloriously formative experience.  You’ve got your fraternities, your brotherhoods of men, your masculine, testosterone-infused, Jesuit centers of intellectual development (shout out to Marquette High), all of which I deeply respect.  However, you’ll never know the joys of wearing a wool kilt to school on the daily.  You won’t understand how difficult it is to put on makeup when there’s no need for it five out of seven days a week.  You may never experience that amazing realization that you are completely content in your own imperfect skin, that it is self-respect, intelligence, compassion, and conviction that make a woman beautiful—not long locks, luscious lips, or a bodacious body.

A hysterical article by Brianna Wiest about all-girls high schools said, “If you want to cause mass hysteria [at an all-girls school], bring in one of the following things: pizza, cupcakes, a puppy, or a boy.”  The accuracy of this statement frightens me, and it certainly illustrates what sort of school climate we’ve got going over at DSHA.  But all jokes aside (maybe), I thought I would set out to discover the real reasons why we loved our single sex education.  I went a little out of the box for this post and asked my former DSHA classmates to give me some reasons why all-girls high school was and is the best, and this is what I got.

The All-Girls Experience: High School Reflections as Told by My Graduating Class

1.)    “There was always taco dip around.” –Tess Zukowski, St. Norbert’s College

2.)    “I never knew how much I would miss wearing my skirt when I got to college.” –Maddie Schultz, UW-Steven’s Point

3.)    “I loved the teachers… And the principal for that matter! They were encouraging, supportive, and passionate about what they taught. They cared about their students academically, but also personally which makes a world of a difference.”  –Beth Dzwierzynski, The Ohio State University

4.)    “I did not know where my hair brush was for four years.” –Winnie Dresden, UW-Madison

5.)     “I didn’t have to wear pants to school.” –Jenna Kaerek, Marquette University

6.)    “Who needs a shower when there’s deodorant?” –Andrea Muehlenberg, University of Tennessee-Knoxville

7.)    “All teachers and faculty made us understand how important hard work is now and for the rest of our lives.” –Elizabeth Baker, Marquette University

8.)    On what she misses: “Taking naps in the hallway…taking naps anywhere, actually.” –Katie Polacheck, Gonzaga University

9.)    “There was always a reason to bake.” –Sandra Mejia, Milwaukee School of Engineering

10.) “DSHA helped me grow into someone in whom I can be confident. I’ve had more than one person tell me that they’ve never met a girl as comfortable with being herself as I am.” –Elizabeth Kraemer, The University of St. Thomas

11.) “No boys = no drama.” –Carina Belmontes, Marquette University

12.)  “Smiles, waves and laughter were common in the hallway, and overall the atmosphere was positive and happy.” –Laura Rieckhoff, The University of Central Florida

13.)  “No one makes out in the hallways!  Also, getting your phone taken away [in class] meant one less Qdoba burrito you could buy” (referring to the monetary fee DSHA charges to reclaim confiscated cell phones)Jessica Chan, UW-Madison

14.) “Nobody judged me when my locker wouldn’t close and had that whole ant infestation thing. Well, you all judged me, but I’d like to think it’s a testament to my all-girl education that I just didn’t care.” –Molly Young, Fordham University

15.) “There was such a strong support system and every girl genuinely wanted others to succeed just as much as she herself wanted to succeed.  Also being able to roll out of bed and not worry or care about how you looked was a blessing, as was living in sweat pants.” –Jessica Gottsacker, Saint Louis University

Obviously, this isn’t scientific research.  I did not do any number crunching or gather any precise data to prove to you that all-girls education is the way to go; hopefully, however, you can detect the immense level of pride we have in our alma mater through my classmates’ comical sarcasm and brilliant wit.  These girls are the finest around, and they are entirely representative of the caliber of the students and human beings that DSHA and other all-female educational institutions create.

So don’t let the general lack of “Y” chromosomes deter you.  All-girls school is where it’s at.

4 Responses to “It’s a Girl Thing: My DSHA Experience”

  1. 1 J. Lancaster March 17, 2014 at 1:57 am

    Our family misses you. You captured a tone of young women out there to help the readers “get it” and wonder what they’ve missed. It’s hard to put in words. I get it. I went there!


  2. 3 James Leishman January 3, 2015 at 9:18 am

    A great read. I attended a boy’s prep in the sixties before attending Marquette and it was amazing to read the about the same camaraderie between students and support of faculty that I experienced. What is still more amazing is that I have strong friendships with my graduating class. There is definitely something special about a same sex high school education. Thanks.


    • 4 Aubrey Murtha January 6, 2015 at 1:48 pm

      Thank you so much for your nice words, Mr. Leishman. Its true that there is something remarkable about a single-sex education. I was hoping to write a piece that would spell out the feelings that I have for my former academic institution, but as it turns out, that task was some kind of impossible! I am glad you could identify with my thoughts. Most sincerely, Aubrey Murtha


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